CSU Management Finally Gets Serious at Bargaining Table, But We Remain Far Apart
For the first time in a long time, CSU management is engaging in genuine negotiations.
As we recently reported in Headlines, CSU management asked CFA’s Bargaining Team back to the table to propose contract terms even as the California Public Employment Relations Board certified us to factfinding after state-mandated mediation did not result in an agreement. CFA has accepted dates for the first week of January for factfinding.
We are where we are in negotiations (bargaining with vigor and with serious responses to our proposals!) because of CFA members. Over the last month, faculty signed petitions and presented them to campus presidents throughout the system and rallied on campuses. Many of you showed up for Chancellor Joseph I. Castro’s campus visits to tell him that we demand Rights, Respect, and Justice. We were also thrilled to see the turnout at our rally and the November Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, where the trustees inside could hear the chanting of our crowd and the honking of the car caravan. The management team and their bosses were clearly influenced by faculty taking these actions.
Though CSU management made some movement during recent bargaining sessions, we are still at odds on critical items.
“Management has made some movement, but we remain fair apart on many key issues. We are not close on salary, not close on workload relief through course caps, not close on lecturer justice, not close an anti-racism and social justice,” said Kevin Wehr, CFA Vice President and Bargaining Team Chair. “We need to see movement on in-range salary progression, range elevation, and stagnant salaries. We need better funding on exceptional service awards and to name what it is for: cultural taxation. Management still won’t recognize the dire workload and under-resourcing of our counselors and the mental health needs of our students. Though management has some nice words to say, sadly, they don’t want to move beyond the same cliches that wish away racism and other systems of oppression.”
We’ll have more ways in the spring for members to take action in support of a fair and reasonable contract and to encourage Chancellor Castro to do the right thing and honor the faculty who carry out the CSU’s mission.
We met with management on November 17 and 19. On November 17, CSU management proposed a number of contract changes and presented significant movement on salary. The CFA Bargaining Team spent about 20 hours reviewing and drafting counterproposals, which we presented on November 19.
Movement from the CSU at the table included: dropping their short-sighted proposal rolling back the Faculty Early Retirement Program; rescinding their proposal to keep reprimands in faculty Personnel Action Files longer; marginally improving their contract proposal for lecturers; and reducing the proposed increases in parking fees for faculty to park on campus. The two sides are getting closer on improving the student evaluation process.
We submitted counterproposals for salary, workload, and additional items that provide lecturer justice, improve coach protections, and further the rights of librarians and counselors.
“We’re hopeful to see CSU management move in the right direction on improving job security for lecturers, but what we’ve seen from them thus far is not nearly enough to address the structural exploitation and inequity that contingent faculty face every day,” said Meghan O’Donnell, Bargaining Team member and Associate Vice President of Lecturers, North. “The abusive and immoral practice of exploiting lecturer labor is making its way into public consciousness and it’s time for the CSU management to stop profiting off lecturers’ precarious working and living conditions. Lecturer justice is a critical priority for CFA, and we’ve carefully crafted bargaining proposals that honor and respect the labor of all our faculty; CSU management needs to, too.”
Importantly, especially in this time of racial reckoning, we continue to push for terms that reflect the anti-racism and social justice work of our union. Recent events remind us that our campuses are not always safe havens of inclusiveness, but rather places where many folks experience racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. For example, Fresno State is considering a name change for Henry Madden Library, named after a Nazi sympathizer.
“Our campuses have tried hard to build welcoming spaces, but feeling welcomed is not the same as feeling safe,” said Vang Vang, CFA Bargaining Team member and librarian at Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library. “That is why, through our bargaining proposals, CFA seeks to develop policies and practices that honor, and accept our campus communities’ diverse lived experiences. Without the acceptance of our past and present pain – like the pain of walking into a building honoring a propagator of white supremacy and violence – many students, faculty, and staff of color will always feel unsafe.”
Although we remain hopeful that Chancellor Castro’s team will meet our needs and demands, we are prepared to go forward with factfinding and possible job actions if we cannot get a comprehensive negotiated agreement that includes meaningful improvements for everyone.
On salary, the CSU management team proposed a 3-percent, one-time signing bonus for all faculty at the time of ratification retroactive for 2020-21; 4 percent for 2021-22; and 4 percent (depending on state funding) for 2022-23. For the General Salary Increase (GSI), we counterproposed a larger one-time signing bonus to compensate faculty for their dedicated work under COVID-19 conditions; 4 percent for 2021-22; and 4 percent (depending on funding from the state) for 2022-23. We also counterproposed two rounds of Service Salary Increases (SSIs) and a Post Promotion Increase (PPI) to respond to inversion and compression in our salaries.
“We’re continuing to fight for SSIs, for which many faculty are eligible. With our proposal, the first SSI would be retroactive to 2020-21, and this, along with the PPI, would work with the 4 precent GSI for the 2021-22 year to mean more than 6-percent increases to the base salary for most faculty,” said Charles Toombs, CFA President and Bargaining Team member.
While a fair compensation package is certainly a part of our campaign for rights, respect, and justice, it is not the whole of what we need as faculty to improve our working conditions. We continue to demand improved range elevation for lecturers, which will benefit so many in our bargaining unit, and better terms for families, parental leave, and health and safety for our members.
Though your Bargaining Team will be back at the bargaining table four days over the next two weeks in hopes of negotiating a new deal, we are at the same time preparing for factfinding, where we will present evidence in support of our proposals. Now is the time to know what’s at stake and to get active with Contract Action Teams.
Stay updated on negotiations at CFAbargaining.org.