CFA Wins One-Year Contract Extension, Allows More Time to Bargain During COVID-19 Crisis

Members of the CFA Bargaining Team successfully negotiated an extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement through June 30, 2021.

The extension maintains benefits like healthcare and retirement, and guarantees all rights in the current contract as well as the continuation of three vital programs due to expire at the end of June 2020. You can view the extension agreement here.

“We are pleased that we were able to collaborate with the Chancellor’s team to craft an extension that protects the rights our members enjoy in the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” CFA President Charles Toombs said. “Some important programs are extended for tenure-line faculty, lecturers, and faculty who serve the students of the CSU, including students of color who bear the brunt of the inequities of this world, first generation college students, LGBTQI+ students, and immigrants and dreamers who are left out of many of the COVID-19 relief efforts. Now more than ever, our students need us focused on them and not on a contract battle. In the meantime, we will continue to advocate for faculty working conditions in and outside of the classrooms.”

This extension protects critical rights and benefits in the contract, including healthcare and retirement programs, the grievance process and the layoff process, as well as protection from take-backs during anticipated funding cuts.  Just as paramount, the Bargaining Team secured an extension of the following important provisions:

  • the cultural taxation exceptional service to students awards (Article 20.37) that recognizes the additional, often uncompensated work faculty perform on behalf of underrepresented students;
  • probationary faculty development time (Article 20.36) that provides new tenure-track faculty time to establish their research, scholarship, creative activities, and other activities that support them in meeting the requirements for retention, tenure, and promotion;
  • range elevation eligibility for a new cohort of lecturers and temporary librarians under the 2016 MOU, allowing lower-paid faculty to move up in the salary structure.

In this moment of unpredictability and financial instability, this is a significant win for faculty.

“Though it does not include a pay raise for this year, the extension maintains benefits like healthcare and retirement, and guarantees all rights in the current contract as well as the continuation of three vital programs due to expire at the end of June,” said CFA Bargaining Chair and Vice President Kevin Wehr. “In this uncertain economic environment caused by the global pandemic, we thought it prudent to protect our contract. We will continue negotiating on non-economic issues with the CSU, and raises and compensation will be central to our future demands.”

In Fall 2019, CFA began a contract campaign for a successor to the Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire June 30, 2020. The Bargaining Team and the Contract Development and Bargaining Strategy Committee met regularly and undertook a survey of faculty to develop priorities for the new contract.  Nearly 7,000 members completed the survey and submitted 694 pages of open-ended responses. Bargaining team members met with CFA leaders on all campuses to discuss priorities. Throughout the Winter and early Spring this year, the groups continued to meet and develop specific proposals that would advance the union’s anti-racism and social justice work, further faculty rights, improve working conditions and workload, and enhance faculty economic security.

And then in February, everything changed. By March, it was clear that a pandemic was looming; campuses became deserted as course and program delivery moved virtual, accompanied by county and then statewide shelter-in-place orders. As life drastically changed for so many of us, CFA leaders undertook a great deal of deliberation with members in a variety of venues. After a thorough discussion and consultation with leaders at CFA chapters on all 23 campuses, the CFA Bargaining Team sought a one-year extension of our current contract. 

We know that many faculty have been contemplating the echoes from the 2009-11 economic recession. Faculty have expressed legitimate fears of economic and working condition take-backs if CFA were to be in bargaining during the expected coming recession. CFA leaders are moving quickly, learning from the lessons of the last recession, and are working to address potential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on evaluations, re-appointment, entitlements, and the potential for loss of work.

The Bargaining Team will continue to meet with management to bargain a successor contract in an effort to make gains in areas of great concern to faculty, including, but not limited to, student opinions of teaching effectiveness, bias in student evaluations, cultural taxation, academic freedom, and other anti-racism and social justice issues. This coming Fall, we will be ready to defend our faculty, students, and our union from the ravages of this pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. If you have thoughts on bargaining as this process moves forward, please feel free to share them at bargainingideas@calfac.org.