CFA leaders to Trustees: Faculty contract is ‘a beginning’

The new faculty contract is an accomplishment, but it’s only a first step to restoring faculty morale, providing proper salaries, and improving working conditions in the CSU, CFA leaders told the CSU Trustees today.

Although CFA members ratified the contract 9 to 1, faculty are “terribly demoralized and distressingly cynical about the system’s commitment to addressing their struggles paying rent, feeding families, and educating their kids on CSU faculty salaries,” said Lillian Taiz, president of CFA and a professor at Cal State LA.

“What happens in the coming months on implementing campus equity and reopener bargaining on salaries for years two and three will be critical in either reversing or cementing those sentiments,” she said.

“My hope is that we can look back next year and see the agreement we are ratifying today as the first concrete move toward restoring faculty morale and rebuilding the salary and working conditions that must exist in the kind of CSU we all hope for,” she added.

Andy Merrifield, chair of CFA’s Bargaining Team, said fixing the dysfunctional salary system remains a work in progress, but CSU management’s appreciation of the critical role faculty play in students’ education was key in reaching an agreement quickly and effectively.

“There was recognition that excessive service, underfunded scholarship, excessive student contact, along with quality education, are things in the agreement that begin to address the problems,” he said. “In addition, there are indirect things that will help with student-faculty relationships. There was progress in the areas of intellectual property, parental leave, sabbaticals, and greening of the institution in this contract.”

In comments that appeared designed to “manage expectations,” Chancellor Tim White said: “We’re making progress for California’s future. Today is a day to be celebratory, but we have to be realistic as well.”