Governor, Legislative Leaders Take Back on Promises to Faculty, Cut Increases in 11th Hour Budget Agreement
An 11th hour backroom deal by three of California’s elected leaders reduced money for faculty raises, capping off an opaque budget season.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, and Speaker Anthony Rendon agreed late Sunday night to a budget framework deal, taking away $100 million from the CSU’s budget.
What this means for the CSU is $211 million in unallocated ongoing funds – the Governor’s original January proposal, instead of $311 million in unallocated funds. The legislature passed a new budget bill – Assembly Bill 178 – Wednesday night with this reduction.
Newsom signed the budget on Thursday.
This last-minute problem falls directly on the Governor, legislative leaders, and the CSU.
Instead of supporting CSU faculty, as Newsom had promised us during our CFA Faculty Lobby Day advocacy in April, the Governor chose to actively work against faculty and removed the additional $100 million from the CSU budget needed to fully fund our salary increases.
“Time and time again, the Governor has turned to our faculty to advocate for his priorities. Yet, when faculty work tirelessly to keep the CSU afloat through COVID-19 pandemic and Title IX scandals, he would rather turn the other way,” said Charles Toombs, CFA President. “There is minimal concern for our members, especially our lowest paid and most vulnerable members, as inflation and cost of living rapidly rise across this state. Governor Newsom, you still have time to fix this injustice. Fix it and demonstrate that you care about your employees.”
The state of California has a $97.5 billion surplus this year. The Newsom administration decided an additional $100 million, or 0.1% of the state budget surplus, was too much for the California State University system, its faculty, its staff, and its students.
CFA member leaders and members actively advocated for $311 million in unallocated funds for the CSU. The legislature passed Senate Bill 154 a week ago with this money, before the last-minute takeback by the Governor and legislative leaders.
Why this amount? The CSU said during bargaining that at least $300 million in new, unallocated funds was needed to fully fund four percent General Salary Increases. CSU management insisted at the time on working with faculty for these funds.
As seems to be par for the course, the CSU abdicated their advocacy throughout this budget process, leaving virtually all of the advocacy work to faculty, staff, and students.
And because of this last-minute political trade-away from the Governor and legislative leaders, as of now, CSU faculty will receive three percent raises.
“News of the Governor’s decision to trade away, at the last minute, funds that would have guaranteed our full four percent in raises, really is a gut-punch,” said Meghan O’Donnell, CFA Associate Vice President, Lecturers, North. “At a time when people are truly feeling desperate to make ends meet, this money, which is budget dust for the state of California – yet would make all the difference for hard-working folks in the CSU – to trade it away for no reason just feels cruel and unjustifiable.
“It’s not the kind of behavior one expects from a man who claims to be a champion of higher education and of the working class. This feels like someone playing political games with our livelihoods.”
Faculty deserve the full negotiated raise, and CFA member leaders will leave no stone unturned to get these agreed upon funds fully restored.