CFA and CSU Make Tentative Agreement

By Heather Posey

After a 23-month contract standoff, both the California Faculty
Association and the California State University System announced
last Tuesday that they have reached a tentative agreement.

During the 10-day contract extension, the California State
University System was able to reach a tentative agreement with the
California Faculty Association, putting all rolling walkouts on
hold.

“We are very delighted that the parties came together and
reached an agreement,” said Ron Fremont, associate vice president
for University Relations.

The CFA attributes their success to the “powerful support” of
the thousands of members of the union, including ones that went as
far as to send personal messages to CSU Chancellor Charles B.
Reed.

Fremont said, “It is in the best interest of the entire CSU that
we were able to get a tentative agreement.”

CFA Chapter President for Cal Poly Gwen Urey agrees.

“I feel very positive and very good about the agreement,” said
Urey.

The tentative agreements reach compromise on the issues of
salary, workload, grievances, parking and appointments. The CFA
describes these as the most contentiously debated topics in the
bargaining process.

According to the agreement summary, the tentative agreement
gives every faculty member a 7.7 percent raise over the next four
months and a 20.7 percent general salary increase over the lifetime
of the contract. The Chancellor’s Office only guaranteed 14.87
percent in their offer.

According to CFA leaders, the “bulk” of the agreement was
completed on two days before Tuesday’s announcement. The
announcement came three days before the end of the 10-day
negotiation extension and one week before the initial rolling
walkouts were to begin.

“We were determined to take a stand at this point,” said CFA
President John Travis in a teleconference last week.

Travis claims that the CSU’s previous attempts were unacceptable
based on many contingencies in the offer and he describes how
pleased he is by the recent agreement.

“We didn’t get everything we wanted, but we got close to
everything,” said Travis.

He claims that while labor negotiations between the CFA and the
CSU may have seemed exceptionally long, generally such negotiations
take one and a half to two years to complete. And to the CFA, it
was well worth it.

“We’re pretty satisfied with this agreement,” said Travis.

CFA Vice President Lillian Tate agreed with Travis’ statement as
well.

“I think we’ve pretty much got what we’ve been fighting for,”
said Tate.

Although teachers were very prepared to stand their ground and
strike, according to Urey faculty members are “for the most part
relieved they are not called to strike.”

“People are really glad because the strike won’t conflict with
events that people have been planning for a year,” said Urey.

Tate emphasized that while the deal with the CSU was a major
step forward the tentative agreement needs to be turned into a
final contract in order for the new adjustments to begin.

“There remains several steps to reach a [final] contract
agreement,” said Tate.

The CFA states their efforts can now be focused on rebuilding a
university system they describe as “broken.”

Although the agreement does a large improvement on the CFA’s
main concern of salary, it does not restrict any executive perks
nor does it give the CFA any control or input on the benefits of
CSU executives. Tate also informed the public that while major
issues fought by the CFA were settled, student fees are still
rising unless additional money is found.

Urey emphasized that the CFA is still committed to help students
battle an increase which, in their opinion ” lacks
credibility.”

“We are at the pinnacle of power so we are not going to sit by
while student fees go up,” said Urey. “We are going to [continue]
to fight for our students.”

The tentative agreement, currently 41 articles long, will be
sent to each CFA chapter for dues paying members to analyze and
vote to ratify the agreement. Once ratified by the CFA, it will be
sent to be voted on and hopefully ratified by the CSU.

Tate claimed that anything can happen between now and
ratification, which is why leaders chose to “put our people on
hold,” instead of calling off the walkouts altogether.

“We have to continue to be vigilant,” said Tate. “We are
hopeful; we are optimistic (…) but we have been disappointed too
many times.”

The items that still need to be agreed upon include contract
language, summer term issues, and the junior faculty program.
Members on both sides continue to remain positive about the
ratification.

CFA leaders hope to achieve ratification on the agreement by the
end of April.

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

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