Bargaining with CSU management continues this week – the last scheduled days until factfinding begins in January.
Still, we remain too far apart to come to terms on a new contract.
CFA Bargaining Team members hope to make more progress with counterproposals on Thursday, but also anticipate it will take much more work in the months ahead to achieve a fair contract.
Considering the very real possibility of strike action in the spring term, as faculty craft and revise syllabi over the break, the CFA Bargaining Team highly encourages a syllabus statement in solidarity with any union actions.
Here is a template to utilize:
“The California Faculty Association (CFA) is in the midst of a difficult contract dispute with management. It is possible that the faculty union will call a strike or other work stoppage this semester. I will inform the class as soon as possible of any disruption to our class-meeting schedule.”
None of us want to see a strike – and CFA is at the bargaining table working to try to negotiate a fair contract – but management has not stepped up for us to ratify a reasonable contract for rights, respect, and justice.
Not even close.
The CSU refuses to acknowledge that faculty continue to be overworked, exhausted, unsecure, and unsafe in their jobs.
Recently, the CFA Bargaining Team re-submitted our counselor workload proposal, which would finally move the CSU to the national standard of one counselor per every 1,000 to 1,500 students. In response, CSU management has falsely claimed that there is no need for this proposal as “there are no waiting times” for students in need of mental health services.
This is far from the truth.
The CSU can do better and needs to hire more CFA mental health faculty for our students.
Dr. Jay Robertson-Howell, a clinical psychologist at CSU San Marcos and chair of the CFA Counselors Committee, said it is “imperative that the CSU system meet the International Association of Counseling Centers (IACS) ratio” for students, especially since mental health has a direct impact on retention and graduation.
“With an increase in mental health issues for young people due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with many counseling centers across the CSU system understaffed, students are not getting the assistance they need in a timely manner,” said Robertson-Howell. “While counseling centers handle the access to care differently, whether students wait a couple of weeks for an intake or they are seen for a phone triage and then placed on a waitlist with wait times ranging from ten days to four weeks, one thing is clear: there is not enough counselor faculty within the CSU system.”
No settlement, outstanding issues remain
CFA members have demanded changes in our working conditions, and the union Bargaining Team is fighting hard to win on those demands.
Quite simply, the chancellor has not moved enough on the core issues we face as faculty in the CSU, and its why we continue to fight for:
- A salary offer that meets our needs and that we deserve;
- Workload relief for instructional faculty and counselors;
- Recognition of cultural taxation, sufficient resourcing for exceptional service, and acceptance of our anti-racism and social justice proposals;
- In-range progression (known as Service Salary Increases/SSIs/steps) and improved range elevation;
- A mechanism for addressing stagnated salaries;
- Job security for lecturer faculty, contingent counselors, and coaches;
- Health and safety changes that recognize the need for alternatives to policing, which is especially important for Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) faculty and students. Our faculty need better conflict resolution options to be safe in their jobs;
- Longer parental leave periods when faculty have a birth in the family or adopt a child; and
- Protection of Academic Freedom.
The CSU’s stance on these outstanding issues is unconscionable. Plain and simple.
“Our proposals mean JUSTICE for faculty and students harmed by implicit bias and systemic racism perpetrated regularly on our campuses by police. CFA proposes designating alternatives to campus police for non-criminal incidents,” said CFA President Charles Toombs. “The CSU does not want this to happen.”
Chancellor Joseph I. Castro continues to talk about social justice and much needed anti-racism reforms when, in reality, he and his team do not want these reforms to reach their campuses.
“We want justice for thousands of coaches and contingent faculty by strengthening job security with multi-year contracts. The CSU says no. We want salary equity for our faculty that includes more than GSIs,” said Toombs. “It’s time for the CSU and Chancellor Castro to respect and honor faculty and give us a fair contract offer for rights, respect, and justice for all of our faculty.”
Throughout the past two years, signing a fair contract that guarantees rights, respect, and justice for faculty has been our north star, guiding all of the proposals we have shared with management.
“We need justice for our parents and caregivers by expanding parental leave. Our team has proposed recently to double the currently allotted time (from 30 days to 60 days maximum) and allocate 75 percent pay for the rest of the semester for our colleagues who need this time to start their family or take care of loved ones,” said CFA Associate Vice President, North, Margarita Berta-Ávila. “We’ve seen the necessity grow during this pandemic.
“The CSU wants to keep the system the same. The CSU wants to keep this issue invisible and marginalized. That is unacceptable.”
Our team is also fighting for respect for all our work during the pandemic to keep the CSU system afloat by offering a fair salary. The CFA Bargaining Team is currently proposing:
- A one-time COVID-19 Service Award for 2020-21 (last year) for all faculty for the work we did during the pandemic to care for our students and our campuses and communities. This money would come from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF), which we squeezed management to finally use;
- Four percent General Salary Increase (GSI) for 2021-22 (this year retroactive to July 1);
- Four percent GSI for 2022-23, pending budget approval from the state
Additionally, we want SSIs and Post Promotion Increases (PPIs) to address significant pay inequity in our salaries:
- 2.65 percent SSI for 2020-21;
- 2.65 percent SSI for 2022-23; and
- 2.65 percent PPI for 2020-21
For most of us, this would mean at least a 10- to 12-percent raise within 12 months, with an additional, one-time COVID-19 Service Award for all of our hard work.
Currently, management has only offered a four percent GSI for 2021-22, along with a four percent GSI for 2022-23 that would be contingent on receiving a significant increase in state funding. The CSU has also offered an approximate one-time bonus (significantly smaller than our offer) for last year, but refuses to offer any SSI or PPI raises, which is unacceptable.
CFA’s package includes needed anti-racism and social justice reforms.
“Bargaining for rights, respect, and justice means reforming our student evaluation system, with the right to a system free of implicit bias against women, LGBTQIA+, and BIPOC faculty. Currently, management refuses to explicitly address bias in this system,” said CFA Associate Vice President, Racial and Social Justice, South, Sharon Elise.
“We want the CSU to recognize and respect our faculty by finally calling exceptional service what it is: cultural taxation. Our faculty are culturally taxed daily, and coaches, lecturers, librarians, and professors are stepping in to support students in need of mental health services given the long wait to see counselors because of increased counselor workload. The CSU says no.”
Members want the CSU to respect our lecturers by providing a more just range elevation process. For those lecturers who have served five or six years in their current range, we want management to provide automatic range elevation when they receive a three-year or five-year contract.
But the CSU seems hell bent on keeping this from happening.
How to support our bargaining proposals
Member advocacy has worked.
Our strong faculty action – from our chapter-led to statewide initiatives – helped to move the chancellor on several issues and underscores the importance of our unity. We have succeeded in getting the chancellor’s team to back off some of their more obnoxious takeback proposals, including no takebacks on the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) and no obscene parking fee increases.
In order for us to secure this package, we will need all of our voices and advocacy next semester. Stay tuned for statewide and chapter communications on upcoming events.
In the meantime, CFA members are making a chapbook to visually tell our stories about our bargaining proposals. Submissions related to our proposals will be accepted through March 15, 2022, and can be submitted here.