In academia, in government, and in the labor movement, acronyms swirl around us. If you are used to navigating the federal government’s patchwork of social benefits, for example, you know that “SSI” refers to supplemental security income for disabled and elderly people.
But in CFAlandia, an “SSI” means a Service Salary Increase. As some of the only California state workers who do not receive automatic “step” increases (along with our staff siblings in the CSU!), we negotiate our SSI increases for each and every year. An SSI is typically a salary increase of 2.65 percent. Unlike a GSI (General Salary Increase, which goes to all faculty in our bargaining unit), an SSI is paid only to faculty on the lower end of the salary scale for our range (A, B, C, or D for lecturers) or rank (assistant, associate, or full for tenure-line/tenured faculty). Coaches, counselors, and librarians are also eligible for SSIs if their salary is below the SSI maximum for their classification.
The goal of the SSI is to raise the salaries of lower paid faculty, and in doing so, minimize the pay inequities (by race, gender, discipline, campus, and/or by dint of a stingy dean) that often originate at the point of hire. This is especially important, given the CSU’s ongoing refusal to lift the salary floors of the lowest paid faculty, as we in CFA have repeatedly proposed they do.
In our 2022-2024 Collective Bargaining Agreement – which remains in effect (although we are currently at impasse over reopener negotiations on salary, benefits, parental leave, workload, and health & safety!) – we won SSIs for fiscal year 2021-22 and fiscal year 2023-24, effective on our anniversary dates. (For the record: in 2022-2023, we won PPIs, Post-Promotion Increases for full professors and lecturer D faculty and equivalent coaches, counselors, and librarians). See Article 31, Salary for details on the GSIs, PPIs, and SSIs we have won so far (2022-2024), in addition to what we are still organizing to win for the current year, 2023-2024.
What this means is that if your anniversary date is sometime in August, you should soon be seeing a 2.65 percent increase in your gross pay (that is, your total pay before taxes and other deductions) if your salary is below the SSI maximum. If you have not yet received your increase by October 1, and you believe you are eligible, contact your campus payroll office, inquire about your eligibility, and ask when you will be paid. If you were first hired in spring, and your anniversary date is sometime in January, you should receive the 2.65 percent increase early in Spring 2024.
In the meantime, you can determine your eligibility by looking at this salary schedule. If your salary is below the level in line with the phrase “SSI Max” in the chart, you are eligible to receive the 2.65 percent increase.
CSU management is notorious for failing to pay us on time, so do be your own advocate and know that your union leaders will support you in receiving the pay owed to you.
If your campus payroll office is unresponsive and you’re still unsure about whether you have an SSI coming your way this year, contact your CFA chapter representatives on your campus.
Join us in our ongoing struggle to improve salaries for all faculty in the CSU!
Want to learn more? Become active with your local CFA chapter Faculty Rights team. Find your representative here.