CSU, CFA End Talks Without Agreement

By Greg Amparan

Moving one step closer to a walkout, talks between the CSU
administration and the faculty union ended on Dec. 15 without the
parties coming to an agreement.

Both parties held the line on all remaining issues during
mediation sessions. The parties now move to the next stage in the
legal matter called fact-finding, which is mandatory for impasse
procedures under the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations
Act.

A third-party will be brought in to assess the negotiations and
make recommendations that are non-binding.

Contract negotiations continue to deteriorate and frustrations
from both sides are apparent as they voice their opinions.
According to the CFA’s Web site, a strike seems imminent, as all
prior attempts to create a new contract both sides can agree on
have failed.

The drawn out process has seen large amounts of media attention
and other organizations are getting involved and choosing sides.
The most recent is the California Teachers Association.

“Be it resolved that the CTA will do all that it can to support
the CFA in this struggle for a fair and just contract,” wrote the
CTA in a resolution voted unanimously to support the CFA in
December.

The battle has seen its share of opportunities to come to a
conclusion, but the problem continues to progress.

Negotiators for the CSU and the CFA met back in September at the
Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach and were unable to reach an
agreement on a new labor agreement.

The parties have been bargaining for a new contract as the
existing one was scheduled to expire on June 30, 2005. The terms of
the contract have been extended since June of 2005, and continue to
be in effect.

The CSU has made a compensation offer that they believe could
benefit all faculty members and make their compensation more
competitive, according to the CSU.

The salary offer, which was rejected by the union, includes a
24.5 percent salary increase to be paid over the next three years,
and the CSU payment of 100 percent of the increase in medical
insurance premiums over the life of the contract. The actual value
of the CSU offer will be a 27 percent increase in salary during the
next three years once the annual increases in the CSU offer are
compounded.

“I am happy with the compensation offer because it will benefit
all of the faculty members and it is a smart move by the
administration,” said Paul Browning, spokesperson for the
Chancellor’s Office of Public Affairs. “Within the next few years
when the plan is in full effect, all the faculty members under the
agreement will have something to look forward to.”

Yet, the CFA views the proposal as incentive based and believes
the holes in the contract are a risk.

Besides compensation, some of the other major outstanding issues
concerning the offer include grievance procedures and disciplinary
appeals processes, a faculty early retirement program,
incentive/equity pay, parking fees, and health and retirement
benefits.

The CSU has reached agreements or tentative agreements with
eight other bargaining units including representing physicians,
healthcare workers, administrative and technical support, academic
support, trades, and law enforcement.

The CSU and the faculty union agreed to extend the terms of the
current contract until January 31, 2007.

The CSU is the largest system of senior higher education in the
country, with 23 campuses, approximately 430,000 students and
44,000 faculty and staff.

Greg Amparan can be reached by e-mail at news@thepolypost.com or
by phone at (909) 869-3747.

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