Faculty express opinions on CFA tentative agreement 

By Danna Miramontes

The California Faculty Association released the official vote on the tentative agreement with 76% of faculty members voting “yes” and 24% voting “no” Feb. 19. This is after months of negotiation and the CFA putting a halt to the strikes Jan. 22 — the first day of the spring semester.  

According to the tentative agreement summary on the CFA website, the tentative agreement will provide two general salaries increases: 5% for the 2023-2024 academic year and 5% for 2024-2025 as long as the CSU’s base funding isn’t cut. And there will be 10 weeks of parental leave provided, which is an improvement from the original six weeks of parental leave. And a raise of the base pay for the lowest-paid faculty members.  

And also stated, in a CFA systemwide email, the tentative agreement will “acknowledge the need to improve student-to-counselor ratios, address workload relief and address long-standing racial, social, and gender inequities.” 

Days before the vote on the tentative agreement was released, Nicholas Von Glahn, professor and department chair for psychology and the CFA chapter president, estimated the voting turnout would be 82% voting “yes” with the remaining voting “no.” Von Glahn expected the tentative agreement to pass, as he felt most of the faculty were ready to move on from this discourse. 

“The best thing for us to do is to take the deal, and if we believe mistakes were made or if we believe we could have better, then we need to make some changes both by trying to get rid of the board and reforming the corrupt board of trustees at the chancellor’s level,” said Von Glahn.  

The board of trustees, according to Von Glahn, has been hoarding around $8.3 billion in reserves and have little to no regard for the students and faculty. 

Charlize Althea Garcia | The Poly Post

Kate Ozment, an associate professor of English and representative at large for the Pomona chapter of the CFA, held similar sentiments. Hours before the voting results were released, Ozment believed the majority of the faculty would vote “yes.” But she wasn’t entirely convinced by the agreement.   

“I feel complicated about the tentative agreement,” said Ozment. “Does it make meaningful steps forward? Yes. Is it everything I wanted? No.” 

Many of the policies faculty members advocated for weren’t fully implemented in the tentative agreement. The number of counselors employed at CPP is one of those policies. For Ozment, this is a dire issue that impacts students’ lives. 

“Our counselors are one of our smallest amounts of faculty on campus,” Ozment said. “And they’re literally keeping students alive. So, it’s just one of those things where it shouldn’t be a conversation.” 

One of the biggest wins from the tentative agreement is the rise of the base pay for the lowest-paid faculty. Hoping that the CFA tentative agreement would pass, Von Glahn emphasized the importance of this policy for many lecturers, both full-time and part-time, at CPP.  

“It was a good trade to make to help our more vulnerable faculty out, the lecturers who are the backbone of this faculty, because they make poverty wages,” Von Glahn said. “I mean $54,000 in 2024 to like $60,000; it’s a big jump.” 

When understanding the complexities of this agreement, Ozment explained this is merely the starting line for many more changes to be implemented. 

“As teachers, we often talk about assessment loops, which is where you set up learning objectives, do the assignments, and then at the end, you assess it,” said Ozment. “I think our assessment loop as a union is this was our goal, here’s how we went about achieving it and here’s what we got.” 

After the results of the voting, Jessica Perez, assistant professor at the College of Science in the department of CEMaST, held similar hopes as she believes that in a year the faculty who participated in the strike will have a better understanding of where they stand in this agreement. In these situations, according to Perez, you must ask persistently to get where you need to be. 

“I think we asked for a lot, and it’s you kind of asked for everything, and then you kind of negotiate down to where you need to,” said Perez. 

On the other hand, L. Lin Ong, an assistant professor of international business and marketing at the College of Business Administration, expressed the disappointment many faculty felt in how the union handled the negotiation of the agreement and the voting process. 

“We’re disappointed that it wasn’t higher, but they also didn’t necessarily feel comfortable voting against it,” said Ong. “The union’s wording about the voting was honestly a bit unclear and pretty skewed toward one versus another.” 

Despite their disappointment, many faculty members are ready to continue the fight for better wages, better facilities and a better future for their students.  

“We’re going to win this one, and then next time we’re going to do better,” Ozment said. 

 Feature image courtesy of Charlize Althea Garcia

Verified by MonsterInsights