CFA, CSU announce tentative salary agreement

Three-year agreement resolves dispute, avoids potential strike

From left to right: CFAs Jennifer Eagan, Kevin Wher and Kathy Sheffield.

From left to right: CFA’s Jennifer Eagan, Kevin Wher and Kathy Sheffield.

Cory Kay, News Editor

After eleven months of negotiation, the California Faculty Association (CFA) and the California State University have reached a tentative agreement regarding faculty salary raises, avoiding a proposed five-day strike.

The CFA strike, previously scheduled to occur across all 23 CSU campuses on April 13 through April 19, was the potential result of a prolonged negotiation between the CSU and CFA, the CFA aiming for a 5-percent salary increase.

After a 48-hour blackout period, dedicated to intensive negotiations with no interruptions from media sources, CSU Chancellor Timothy White announced on Friday, April 8, that an agreement had been reached and that classes and other campus functions will continue as usual.

“The agreement has 10.5 percent increase in general salary increases for faculty over the three years of the agreement,” said White. “Another significant aspect … is that when a faculty member is promoted from assistant to associate and associate to full professor, we have raised the minimum salary increase that occurs on those merit-based adjustments from 7.5 percent to 9 percent.”

The three-year agreement involves a three stage salary increase; faculty will receive a 5 percent salary increase at the end of this budget year on June 30, 2016, with an additional 2 percent increase becoming effective on July 1, 2016.

July 1, 2017 will bring the final stage of the agreement, an additional 3.5 percent faculty salary increase.

The new agreement was reached following the release of the fact finder report on March 28, which sided with the CFA and proposed a reallocation of funds from other projects over a multi-year period.

“The fact finder … verified that the salaries for our faculty are under market,” said White in a telephone news media conference held on Friday, April 8. “It also identified that there [weren’t] resources sitting around that would allow us to craft a solution without cutting away from other priorities, and all of those priorities were around student success …”

Dr. Jennifer Eagan, Professor of Philosophy and Public Affairs and Administration at CSU East Bay, spoke during the telephone conference as a representative of the California Faculty Association.

“Most of [the CFA members] are not radicals, and all this militant activity is not what we really want to be doing,” said Eagan. “It was truly a reflection of the economic crisis that our membership is experiencing and their insistence that CFA fight back on their behalf in ways that show that we recognize what they and their families were going through.”

Eagan further commented on the insufficiency of current faculty compensation, seen through personal experiences of CSU faculty across California.

“The faculty presented an extremely strong and compelling case … that our faculty have been languishing financially for a decade, both through the data and in the real-life experiences and stories of faculty who have been struggling with whether they could personally afford to stay and teach in the CSU,” Eagan said.

In response to a student inquiry of the state of the relationship between the CSU and CFA, Chancellor white said “I couldn’t be more happy, and I think we will be having much greater success in all of our work by working together on difficult matters [with] different points of views [and] different ideas.”

With a tentative agreement in place, the CFA and CSU were able to avoid a potential CSU system-wide strike and resolve the dispute that had been hindering effective cooperation between the two parties.

“As we invest in faculty, we invest in [the] students’ learning environment,” said Chancellor White. “Also by investing in faculty, it allows us … to hire, to recruit and retain the very best faculty members.”