By Javier Valdes
A 10.5 percent overall faculty salary increase agreement has been reached.
California Faculty Association President Jennifer Eagan and the California State University Chancellor Timothy White announced in a joint statement a tentative agreement that will increase CSU faculty salaries by 5 percent effective June 30, with an additional 2 percent increase effective July 1.
In the agreement, the CSU officials and CFA leaders also agreed on a guaranteed 3.5 percent raise effective July 1, 2017 and a 2.65 percent service salary increase during the 2017/18 fiscal year.
In a joint statement from the CSU and CFA that was released Thursday, they announced that the tentative agreement has postponed the planned five-day, systemwide strike, that was slated to begin April 13, “pending approval and ratification of the agreement by the CFA Board of Directors and membership.”
Once the ratification of the agreement is approved by the CFA membership, the CSU Board of Trustees will put it to a vote during the May 24-25 meeting.
The tentative agreement came about after the CSU officials re-entered negotiation talks Tuesday night, following the fact-finding report, which validated the CFA’s proposal of a faculty salary increase.
Fact-finder Bonnie Castrey’s report recommended that CSU officials approve an increase in faculty compensation with a general salary increase of 5 percent.
Along with an increase, the fact-finding report suggests that the money needed to fund the faculty increases can be attained by reallocating from other projects, instead delaying them for a year or two and using those funds to supplement a faculty salary increase.
The report also proposes that both parties should agree to jointly approach the legislature and governor to address the needs, interests and concerns on the issue.
During a joint conference call with White and Eagan, White elaborated on how the 7 percent increase would be funded.
“We had a 2 percent budget increase for faculty for the 2015-16 year that did not get spent because we were engaged in these negotiations,” said White. “We have budgeted for 2016-17 an additional 2 percent.”
Where the remaining 3 percent of funds will come from remains unclear, CSU Bakersfield Vice Provost David Schecter said that he thinks the remaining funds will be supplemented by deferring maintenance and programs as suggested by the fact-finding report.
In addition to the salary increases, the agreement will also extend the current faculty contract by an additional year.
“As part of the tentative agreement, the current faculty contract would be extended by one year, with a new expiration date of June 30, 2018,” noted the tentative agreement.
If the tentative agreement is approved by both the CFA membership and the CSU Board of Directors, then the planned five-day, systemwide strike on all 23 CSU campuses will come to an end.
The acceptance of the agreement would conclude the dispute between the CFA membership and the CSU management that began over 11 months ago.
“This agreement will not make faculty rich or end all our economic problems,” said Eagan. “But it will alter the course of our relationship with the chancellor and send a huge signal that we can function as a team.”
Eagan credited the chancellor’s leadership for coming to this agreement, representing compromise on both sides.
“The nature of negotiations changed when that chancellor personally got involved and I am sure that with this result, the faculty respects his leadership,” said Eagan.
As for the relationship between the chancellor’s office and the CFA union moving forward White said, “For me and my colleagues this is a positive reaffirmation of the relationship that I’ve always thought to be important.”
With the strike being postponed following the tentative agreement, the chancellor wrote in an email message to students that all courses scheduled for the remainder of the term will continue as normal.
Representative for the CFA Board of Directors Chris Cruz-Boone is relieved that she does not have to strike, and that this matter will hopefully be put to rest.
Cruz-Boone hopes that students are informed about the status on the strike and attend class as scheduled.
“Tell a friend, go to class,” said Cruz-Boone.