CFA Maritime member leaders successfully protected cruise faculty rights this summer with a new MOU after two years of diligent and persistent bargaining.

Members achieved a bold new cruise MOU that strengthens faculty, student, and staff health and safety and expands compensation for extra work by faculty on the annual training cruise.

A group of people marching with signs.
CFA Maritime members march for Rights, Respect, and Justice in front of the CSU Maritime Training Ship Golden Bear.

“This MOU was an historic win in a number of important ways and advances our mission towards Rights, Respect, and Justice. One of the most important improvements is a reimagining of the contract to prioritize the educational mission. While as an institution we tout this cruise as the quintessential educational experience of the Cal Maritime brand, in recent history, it has been trending towards being seen as ‘just a boat ride’ to satisfy ‘sea time’ requirements, devaluing the educational mission. Our rebranding of the mission through this MOU, I think, will have profound implications for years to come for both students and faculty,” said CFA Maritime President Steven Runyon. 

The Training Ship Golden Bear sets sail every summer to provide real-life maritime experience and application of what students learn in class on campus while also fulfilling sea time requirements for a Merchant Marine license. During the training cruise, students carry out all ship operations under the supervision of expert faculty as the ship runs down the West Coast and travels to international destinations as far as New Zealand, Japan, and Portugal. 

Cruise MOU wins include:

  • 4-percent salary increase, plus a $1,000 signing bonus;
  • $500 per week for any week in which a faculty member does more than their regular assignment;
  • Additional compensation if the cruise runs longer than the normal 65 days;
  • Memorialization of the practice of reimbursement for all fees and other costs associated with obtaining or renewing required licenses;
  • Increase of $500 for uniform costs;
  • Ability to opt in or out of the cruise assignment each year, providing faculty flexibility and ensuring cruise time counts toward retirement for ALL cruise faculty for the first time;
  • Right to inspect staterooms and classrooms at least 10 days before cruise debarks and report problems, with the expectation they will be fixed before cruise leaves;
  • Internet access in staterooms. For the first time, every faculty member will have internet in their personal rooms;
  • Salary reopener in fall of 2023; and
  • No takebacks.

To create a strong campaign, CFA Maritime members made sure to involve in negotiations licensed faculty with cruise expertise, built solidarity at CFA membership and campus department meetings, and utilized polls to gather feedback.

Runyon, CFA Maritime Faculty Rights Chairs Matt Fairbanks and Julie Chisholm, and members Keir Moorhead and Steve Browne led bargaining efforts.

“It was really the expertise and experience of these licensed faculty members that made the difference in moving the intransigence of administration,” Runyon said. “We also fostered solidarity with all faculty. So even the non-licensed, non-cruise faculty were behind this: we talked about it with other faculty at all-faculty meetings and we made polls that showed our high support by all faculty for this improved contract.”

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