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Questions and Answers about COVID-19 crisis at CSUMB

Thank you all for your resiliency and patience during this unusual time.  Please be assured that the Union stewards and Union employees are working diligently to protect members’ rights while navigating through this emergency situation.  The CSUEU is committed to working with management to help make the best decisions for the health, safety, and working conditions for employees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does the current crisis situation on CSUMB mean that provisions of our Collective Bargaining Agreement are suspended?


A: All applicable provisions of our Collective Bargaining Agreement and any other bargained agreements are still in effect during this unprecedented situation. In fact, this is the time when these agreements become even more important to protect the physical and mental health and safety of our employees. 


Q: I was wondering if there is anything in our contract paying essential employees extra payment for coming to work while other staff members get to stay home?


A: This emergency pay provision does not come into play until the University President formally declares a state of emergency for the campus.  If and when that happens When the President has declared a state of emergency at a campus, in exchange for the performance of emergency work by bargaining unit employees outside of their normal assignment, and at a time when those employees would otherwise have been able to use Administrative Time Off, the following emergency pay will be provided. 


Non-exempt employees required to return to or remain at work shall receive emergency pay at time and a half. Exempt employees who are required to work on a day or days declared as a state of emergency at a campus, who would otherwise have been able to use administrative leave, shall receive equivalent informal time off. (CBA 20.37)


Q: Is the CSUMB campus in a state of emergency?


A: As of March 17, the campus president has not officially declared a state of emergency. As such, provisions of Collective Bargaining Agreement relating to Emergency Pay may not be in effect. CSUEU will be pushing back on management to extend Emergency Pay to employees who are working remotely and on campus during this time of reduced campus operations.


Q: Should I use my personal cell phone to conduct business or keep in touch with coworkers? 


A: Employees should not use their personal phone to conduct University business.  Employees should only use their personal phone if the University has agreed to pay for usage, this includes phone calls, reading and sending emails, chats, and text messages. University payment for use must be mutually agreed upon.  There are required forms to complete and sign. The current remote working situation we are in does not change the standard operating procedure: your personal phone should only be used to contact your manager regarding time off or for true emergencies.


Q: Should I be performing work that is outside of my classification or position description?


A: Employees should continue to perform normal duties as much as possible. Until the campus president invokes a state of emergency, employees must maintain working within their classifications and position descriptions. Our collective bargaining agreement is still in effect. Please remember not to overextend yourself trying to solve every problem that comes up in this tumultuous situation.


Q: What if I cannot perform my normal work duties remotely with the tools I have been provided?


A: If an employee is unable to perform some or all of the duties given the current remote working conditions, please communicate that with your manager and inform them of what additional resources you need.


Q: What is the difference between taking the administrative leave with pay versus remotely working from home? Does this affect my service credits?


A: Employees working on campus, remotely, or on Administrative Time Off (ATO) status will retain their normal pay, benefits, and service credits.


Q: Can I be required to work remotely? Am I required to sign the Temporary Remote Work Agreement?


A: At this time, we do not believe that the University can require employees to work remotely in lieu of taking paid Administrative Time Off. The University cannot compel employees to sign the Temporary Remote Work Agreement. Neither of these were bargained with the CSUEU and the Union has significant concerns with both. We will push back against management on both of these issues.


Q: I have never worked remotely before and now I am expected to work from home with little time to prepare. What can I do to set up a home office and balance work and home life?


A: There are several resources available online to explain how to take some stress out of your life while working from home. One such resource is the excellent free ebook, Take Control of Working from Home Temporarily. In this book, you’ll learn about the following:

  • Set working hours to avoid never being off the clock.

  • Adjust your expectations and that of your employer to how much work you can produce, initially and in the long haul.

  • Remember to eat lunch and take regular breaks to avoid burnout.

  • Juggle the simultaneous burdens of full-time home parenting with home working.

  • Put up a sign or otherwise signify to those around you when you’re working.

  • Stake out a physical space and pick or adjust a chair if you plan to sit.

  • Stand while you work without necessarily investing in a new desk.

  • Add a monitor for efficiency, or use software to turn an iPad or other devices into a second display.

  • Invest a tiny amount or a lot into noise-canceling headphones or earbuds.

  • Use videoconferencing to replace meetings and casual conversation you miss from an office.

  • Figure out the right mic and headphones or speakers for your needs.


Q. Will pool and gym fees continue to be deducted since those facilities are closed?

A: The gym deductions were stopped and will not be deducted from your 4/1/20 paycheck. (Payroll email 3/19)


Q. Will parking fees continue to be deducted for those not working on campus?

A: Partial Parking Refunds

State-side | Staff and Faculty who are not working on campus because they either working remotely or on paid administrative leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic will receive refunds of their parking fees based on a weekly cost (e.g., if working remotely for 5 weeks, 5 weeks of parking will be refunded). The process for the refund is in progress. Do not turn in your parking permit. We will provide more information on the process in the near future. (U.P. email 3/20)


Q. Have you received any direction about the health care accounts and dependent care accounts?  To my knowledge, deductions are based on projected expenses.  Without child care needs, there is no expenditure but the amount is still deducted. Is there a way to stop the deductions if the shelter in place continues or, will there be carry forward into 2021?

A. Yes, a significant change in your daycare expenses is a qualifying event that would allow you to cancel or decrease your DCRA contributions.  To make a change to your current DCRA contribution, please complete the DCRA enrollment form and return it to me for processing.  The earliest possible effective date is May 1, 2020, if DCRA form is received no later than April 8, 2020.


Please note that once you cancel your DCRA contributions, no further claims may be filed past the end of the month of the last contribution made.


Q. For those of us who are still reporting to campus for work, are we to provide dates for overtime pay through CMS or will it be done automatically? 


A. You should report on campus work as emergency pay according to instructions on the payroll site. Same for any overtime when you work over 40 hours.

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