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Faculty Rights Tip of the Week: Salary Increases, AKA “Raises”

On the representation team, we recognize that faculty who join the CSU often come from a variety of employment and career backgrounds where different terms and phrases are used for how faculty (or other professionals) earn salary increases over the arc of a career. Within our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), Article 31 contains the salary information bargained in the current contract. The following is a quick review of the types of salary increases for which we bargain:

General Salary Increase (GSI). All Unit 3 employees receive all bargained GSIs. A GSI is for everyone. This usually (but not necessarily) comes in the form of a percentage. For example, during our last agreement, we won a 3.5 percent GSI effective on November 1, 2018 (for fiscal year 2018-19) and a 2.5 percent GSI effective on July 1, 2019 (for fiscal year 2019-20). 

Service Salary Increase (SSI). Eligible faculty currently receive SSIs only in years when they are funded. Only one SSI can be awarded per year, and members at the top of their salary range steps are ineligible. SSIs typically amount to a 2.65 percent percentage raise. Faculty are eligible to receive the SSI if their base salary is below the “SSI Max” salary rate for their rank or range and appointment type, which generally pertains to about 40 percent of CSU faculty. If the base salary is less than 2.65 percent below the SSI rate, a partial SSI may be awarded. SSIs function to create more salary equity among faculty and can potentially minimize or close pay inequities that originated at the point of hire. You can view a summary of the salary schedule, with SSI max values noted, here.

Equity Increases. Equity increases are intended to repair inequitable situations such as salary inversion and compression. In short, due to dates of hiring, periods without SSI raises, and ever-rising nationwide market rates, many senior faculty find themselves earning less than (inversion) or similar salaries (compression) as new hires.
 
Market Increases. Salary adjustments may also be made based on market considerations. Faculty members must apply to the campus president for a “market increase,” and they must supply demonstrations that they should be paid more. Market increases leave much to the discretion of management. For example, in most cases, administrators require that faculty produce a competing job offer letter in order to be considered for a market increase, even though the CBA does not require this.

Range Elevation. Salary increases are available to lecturers who have been in their salary range for five years and are at the SSI maximum for that range. This allows them to move from range A to B, B to C, or C to D. If granted, a range elevation brings a salary increase of at least 5 percent or the percentage increase required to reach at least the minimum of the next range, whichever is greater. Campuses are required to notify lecturers who are eligible to apply for a range elevation at least 30 days prior to the campus deadline for submitting the range elevation application (see Article 12.18). In our 2016 contract, we won an alternate range elevation path for lecturers that does not require Lecturers to have reached their in-range SSI max. You can learn more about the MOU we reached with CSU management here and view some additional range elevation resources here.

Faculty newer to campus may be unfamiliar with our success at winning regular raises for faculty in recent years. Our last GSI occurred in fiscal year 2019-2020, and then in Spring of 2020 as the Bargaining Team began to meet with management on a successor contract, the pandemic descended upon us all. Nevertheless, our newer colleagues should know that since our “Fight for Five” campaign that led us to the eve of a 23-campus, weeklong strike in the Spring of 2016 (leading to a last minute agreement), CFA has won 16.5 percent in GSI raises for all faculty, and 19.15 percent (including the SSI) for lower paid faculty, compounded over the years. Newly hired faculty also benefited from our “Fight for Five” contract campaign, as the salary structure (minima and maxima) also increased by 16.5 percent, leading to higher starting salaries for new hires.

As we receive encouraging budget news for the state of California, the Bargaining Team is again readying itself for salary increase negotiations with CSU management. If history is a teacher, we will all also need to prepare ourselves to mount a powerful campaign in order to help the CSU “find the money,” as we did in 2016. Join us, attend an upcoming bargaining meeting at your campus, and please remind your newer colleagues to join CFA!   

Want to learn more? Become active with your local CFA chapter Faculty Rights team. Find your representative here.