CSU faculty strike averted


CFA Communications Specialist Niesha Gates; CFA President Jennifer Eagan; CFA Sacramento Chapter President Kevin Wehr; and CFA Chief Negotiator Kathy Sheffield hold a telephone press conference with CSU Chancellor Timothy White, Friday, April 8. The CFA and the CSU reached a three-year salary agreement, calling off the five-day strike that was to occur.

Rachel Rosenbaum

This article will be updated with additional information as it becomes available. 

The California Faculty Association and the California State University system have reached a tentative agreement to increase faculty salary over several years, calling off the five-day strike that was to occur next Thursday through Monday.

“The disconcerting threat of a strike has lifted,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy White in a statement. “Courses and campus operations will continue without interruption.”

The CFA and CSU held a joint press conference call this morning at 10 a.m. announcing the tentative agreement and specific details of the proposed salary increases.

According to statements from CFA President Jennifer Eagan and the CSU department of Public Affairs, the proposed salary increases are as follows:

  • A 5 percent general salary increase on June 30, 2016 for all faculty.
  • A 2 percent general salary increase on July 1, 2016 for all faculty.
  • A 3.5 percent general salary increase on July 1, 2017.
  • A 2.65 percent service salary, or step increase, during the 2017-18 fiscal year for all eligible faculty.

In addition to this 10.5 percent salary increase over three years, faculty who receive promotions will receive a 9 percent salary increase instead of the current 7.5 percent.

Before this agreement is enacted, it must be voted upon by the CFA Board of Directors, CFA members and the CSU Board of Trustees. The CSU Board of Trustees will vote at the May 24-25 meeting.

Talks between White and the CFA came after the March 28 release of the fact-finding report. The report, White said during the telephone conference, “got us back into crafting a multi-year solution.”

This solution, as CFA President Jennifer Eagan said, “won’t make faculty rich… it sends a huge signal that we can function as a team.”

During the press conference, Eagan thanked the CFA members for their help in reopening the salary negotiation with the CSU.

“Thanks to the hard work and smart activism of the CSU faculty and the dedicated efforts of our extraordinary student, staff, labor, legislative, and community allies,” Eagan said, “we have been successful in our fight for five.”

The June 30, July 1 timing of the first two salary increases coincides with the beginning of the new fiscal year. Salaries will essentially remain the same for this fiscal year, but next year faculty will receive a 7 percent pay increase. The increases are split across three fiscal years, but would be completed within 14 calendar months.

The CFA’s rallying cries throughout the buildup to the strike were “Fight for five” and “Five is fair,” and Wehr said that making the first salary increase 5 percent was “symbolically important.” That 5 percent increase is not retroactive for the 2015-16 fiscal year, though.

Because they are technically split across  three fiscal years, Wehr said the salary increases could be more accurately interpreted as 3.5 percent per year, as opposed to a simple doubling of the 5 percent the union was fighting for.

“This contract is a step in the right direction toward salary recovery,” Wehr said. “It’s not perfect, but it’s pointed in the right direction.”

For some context, across the CSU’s 23 campuses, the average faculty salary is $51,000. The average CSU faculty member would receive an additional $3,570 for next fiscal year.

Updated Friday, April 8 at 9:25 p.m.