Travis Memo On Parking Issue
To: Board of Directors
Cc: Professional Staff
From: John Travis
CSU Campuses Found Guilty of Labor Law Violations
The CSU Parking Crisis
Twenty years of mad-cap building, funds diversion (CMS), and tens of million
dollars of increased user fees later, CSU's parking program remains in crisis
as the availability of student, faculty, and staff parking remains little
changed. The latest example of the Administration's mishandling of its parking
mandate is found in the July 9, 2004 proposed decision of a Public Employment
Relations Board (PERB) Administrative Law Judge in cases from CSU Northridge
and CSU Sacramento.
In 2002, despite contractual assurances to the California Faculty Association
(CFA) and the California State Employees Association (CSEA) that employee
parking rates would be frozen, administrators on two campuses determined they
would seek to raise parking fees anyway. First, rump groups of sympathetic
local parking consumers were formed to rubber stamp the Administration's plan
for higher fees. Next, when the Unions objected to these contract violations,
the Administration unilaterally raised fees for the most vulnerable group of
parking consumers, the students. When the Unions demanded detailed
documentation on the financial operations of the campus programs, they were
rebuffed -- told essentially that parking consumers had no right to know.
Finally, when local administrators woke up to the contract violations
represented by efforts to raise fees for faculty and staff, they hit upon a
new scheme to pursue their ultimate goal of higher fees. Those consumers who
possessed the power to object to fee increases through their Union collective
bargaining agreements would simply be denied access to the newly constructed
facilities - a first in the CSU!
At that juncture, the Unions cooperated in the filing of an unfair labor
practice charge which accused the CSU of three violations of the State
bargaining law (HEERA):
- Unilateral change in campus parking practices without requisite bargaining
with the Unions;
- Refusal to divulge information about campus parking operations necessary for
the Unions to bargain intelligently about parking fees, thus depriving them of
their statutory right to represent faculty and staff; and
- Illegally bypassing the Unions (exclusive representatives of their
bargaining units) in favor of consultation and negotiation with the
Administration's hand-picked supporters who were improperly billed as the real
"representatives" of the employees in question for parking issues.
PERB has now sustained the Unions' charges on all counts, ordering that
parking barriers to faculty and staff use of the new facilities be removed and
that CSU cease and desist from the use of rump committees. Perhaps most
importantly, PERB has sustained the right of the Unions to a "look at the
books" so that parking consumers -- all parking consumers -- can finally
ascertain for themselves the real needs and costs of campus parking
Predictably, the same administrators who violated the law in the first
instance now refuse to admit their errors and have, instead, directed that
additional, precious University resources be wasted on an appeal.
Implementation of the ALJ's decision will be stayed until this appeal is
decided by the PERB Board.
The Parking Crisis Will Continue
A Call for Reform
Regretfully, unless and until major reforms occur in CSU parking operations,
there is every reason to believe the long-term parking crisis will continue.
Rates will continue to rise while availability shrinks. The California Faculty
Association believes the time for reform is now before the situation -- and
attendant illegalities -- deteriorates further:
Transparency -- It's time that each and every aspect of parking operations
from planning and construction to fees and availability be opened to the
detailed scrutiny of parking consumers.
Power -- Although CSU administrators represent but a tiny percentage of
parking consumers, they hold complete power over parking operations,
frequently to the exclusion and detriment of students, faculty and staff. If
the exercise of this power had led to what parking consumers deserve -- low
cost, available parking -- perhaps the current system could be excused, but
that is not the case. It's time to turn CSU parking operations over to the
Creativity -- CSU's efforts to build and spend its way out of the long-term
parking crisis have been an abject failure. This "concrete" mentality has led
to the dismissal of a variety of creative ideas, both to meet parking demand
and reduce it. New thinking is needed.
Fiduciary Responsibility -- Diversion of parking income to other sources -
whether CMS, non parking-related campus maintenance, or highly paid
administrators who "manage" the parking bureaucracy -must stop. That will
occur only when those who pay the bills -- the consumers -- get to decide what
those bills should be.
End the Divide and Conquer Game
Sadly, one of the most debilitating effects of the CSU Administration's
current parking program is its efforts to divide parking consumers into
warring camps -- student against employee; union against union; campus against
campus. The heart of this strategy is the Administration's ability to
consistently force higher parking fees on students who are left with virtually
As representative of CSU's largest employee group, CFA is pledged to work with
all consumers to develop a fairer system based on the notion that those who
pay should decide. Collaborative and democratic decision-making must replace
the current autocratic, imperious rule of administrators who have failed to
correct the parking system problems or even to obey the law.