By Gregory Jouvenat
The California Faculty Association strike, which was scheduled for April 13-15 and 18-19, has been postponed pending a tentative salary agreement between the CFA and the California State University management. The CSU Board of Trustees and the CFA will need to vote on whether or not they accept the agreement for it to be made official.
The CSU management and the CFA agreed upon a multi-year plan that would increase the salaries of faculty by 10.5 percent over the next three years. The agreement also offered a 2.65 percent increase for eligible faculty at the end of this three-year period.
“I think it’s important to recognize that this dispute, which is now behind us, was an unfortunate symptom of a core problem in California,” said Timothy White, the CSU chancellor. “That is the fact that the California State University, and for that matter the University of California, are underfunded relative to the state’s need for an educated populous.”
Faculty members will receive a 5 percent raise at the end of this budget year on June 30. They will receive a 2 percent raise at the start of the next budget year, which begins on July 1. Faculty members will receive another raise of 3.5 percent at the start of the following budget year on July 1, 2017.
“This agreement will not make faculty rich or end all of our economic problems,” said Jennifer Eagan, president of the CFA. “But it will alter the course of our relationship with the chancellor and send a huge signal that we can function as a team. The chancellor’s leadership deserves much of the credit for this agreement. For the first time that any of us can remember, our chancellor and our board has declared that they truly value the faculty along with the students.”
The CFA has been in salary negotiations with CSU management since June 2015. The CFA asked for a 5 percent raise while the CSU bargaining team offered a 2 percent raise. Both parties declared an impasse in August and entered a fact-finding stage where a neutral third party heard both sides of the issue. After all the facts were heard, the factfinder drafted a report that recommended the best course of action.
Last November, the CFA held a strike authorization vote in which 94.4 percent of union members voted in favor of a strike. The CFA then received strike sanctions and support from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
The factfinder’s report, the last step in the collective bargaining process according to state labor law, was released to the public on March 28 and validated the CFA’s 5 percent raise proposal. The CFA gained the legal right to strike following the release of the factfinder’s report.
The Cal Poly Pomona CFA chapter held a march on April 5. It started from the Lyra Room in the Bronco Student center and ended at President Soraya Coley’s office in the CLA Building. The CFA hoped to meet with Coley and hand her a copy of the factfinder’s report.
“We’ve gotten a lot of support from this report and good publicity as a result,” said Dorothy Wills, a professor at CPP’s Department of Geography and Anthropology and CPP CFA chapter president. “We’re hoping that if the chancellor and the Board of Trustees are interested in having a peaceful two weeks coming up instead of a crazy couple of weeks ” that will mostly fall on the campus presidents, their staff and our students ” that they would give us a phone call.”
Wills then proposed that Coley could possibly appeal to Chancellor White or the CSU Board of Trustees to open up renegotiations about the wage dispute.
“I know that the entire CSU system is sympathetic in terms of recognizing that faculty and staff salaries need to be addressed,” said Coley. “Where I see the gap is that we are trying to do a multi-year approach, and I know that does not necessarily meet with what the CFA’s ideals would be.”
The CSU Board of Trustees is slated to vote on the tentative agreement at its May 24-25 meeting.
The CFA is a union that represents over 25,000 members across the 23 CSU campuses. In 1983 the CFA won an election to be the sole bargaining agent for its members.
Gregory Jouvenat / The Poly Post
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