Fact finder sides with faculty in CSU, CFA dispute

Recommendations call for fund reallocation

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Fact finder sides with faculty in CSU, CFA dispute

Jasmine Demers, Managing Editor

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As the salary dispute between California State University and the California Faculty Association remains stagnant, an independent fact finder sided with the union’s proposal for a 5 percent salary increase.

The fact-finding report, which became public on Monday, March 28, marked the last step in the statutory collective bargaining process between the CSU administration and the CFA, and follows over a year of unsuccessful mediation.

The fact-finding panel included Brad Wells, Associate Vice Chancellor Business and Finance, as the CSU representative, Dr. Kevin Wher, chair of the CFA Bargaining team, as the CFA representative and Bonnie Prouty Castrey as the Impartial Chair.

The panel held hearings on Nov. 23, 2015, Dec. 7, 2015 and Jan. 13, 2016, where both parties provided research, documentation and facts in regards to the issue. Final arguments were filed by Feb. 18, 2016, and were submitted to Castrey for her recommendations.

In the report, Castrey made four official recommendations that the CSU system should fulfill: the CFA’s request for a 5 percent general salary increase; provide an additional service salary increase to the 43 percent of faculty who have not had them; use data from comparable institutions to develop a joint analysis of salary and cost-of-living; and, develop a joint strategy to obtain an increase in state funding.

Castrey’s report also states that the CSU’s budget, in its current form, lacks the funds to implement this compensation suggestion in its entirety. However, she recommends that “monies should be reallocated from other projects and implementation delayed by a year or two and the parties could agree to go jointly to the legislature … to address these serious needs, issues and concerns for the good of higher education access and the welfare of the public at large.”

In response to the report, the CSU Chancellor’s Office said in a press release that “both approaches are unworkable.”

Chancellor Timothy White said that withdrawing from current projects or delaying them “would cause significant harm to students, faculty, staff and California.”

“The best solution moving forward is to continue with our multi-year plan of increasing faculty and staff salaries while also investing in other priorities that support student success and degree completion,” said White. “The only way to achieve our shared goals for students, faculty and staff is greater financial investment by the state. I hope to see lawmakers continue to stand with CSU, as they did this past year.”

With the release of the fact-finding report, faculty members are now legally able to strike and have confirmed the dates of April 13-15 and April 18-19, unless an agreement is made beforehand.

“The fact-finder’s report unambiguously supports the union’s bargaining proposal of a 5 percent pay raise for all CSU faculty and an SSI [service salary increase]. A neutral, outside voice has confirmed that these raises are affordable, reasonable, justified and necessary,” said CFA President Jennifer Eagan.

CFA Chapter President at CSUSM, Darel Engen, commented on the importance of the strike for faculty across the system.

“The strike is the only way we can show why we deserve a raise. A strike will show this is what happens when faculty don’t work. Students don’t get taught,” said Dr. Darel Engen, CSUSM CFA chapter president.

Dr. Lorena Meza, Vice President of Student Affairs, also provided a statement on behalf of CSUSM in regards to the pending strike.,

“We recognize the right of our faculty to participate in a strike, and it is the choice of each faculty member whether or not to participate,” said Dr. Meza. “You are not obligated to support either side nor to align with any position regarding the strike. You cannot be compelled to walk out of class, walk picket lines or otherwise support the strike as part of a class assignment, for extra credit or in exchange for a grade.”

CSUSM will remain open during the faculty strike. Professors should notify their students on whether or not they will be participate in the strike, and whether or not they should attend class as scheduled.

Students are encouraged to contact Student Outreach and Referral (SOAR) at 760-750-7627 with any questions that they may have. For more information on the faculty strike or to view the full fact-finding report, visit www.calfac.org.

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