‘We Will Fight Vigorously’: CFA Leaders Discuss Impacts of Newly Proposed State Budget

Last week, Governor Newsom announced his May revision for the state budget.

Newsom outlined his proposal to close California’s $53.8 billion budget shortfall for 2020-21 that includes a combination of spending cuts, deferrals, increasing taxes, and federal stimulus contributions.  He’s proposing a 10 percent across the board cut to higher education, which amounts to $398 million less in funding to the CSU.  This cut would be eliminated and backfilled with funding from the HEREOS Act, a fourth federal stimulus measure that Congress is considering this week.

And last week, CFA called on the Governor, the Legislature, and the CSU administration to recognize their responsibility to our students’ and our state’s future.

This week, CFA wanted to offer more details on one particular portion of the May Revise: the 10 percent cut. Readers of CFA’s weekly all-faculty messages had questions regarding the potential 10 percent statewide cuts.

The potential for the Governor to trigger the 10 percent cut is dependent upon California not receiving federal funds from a proposed fourth federal stimulus package. This stimulus package has passed in the House, but it is currently stalled in the Senate. It would also need to be signed by the President. Without this federal assistance, Governor Newsom has indicated that the proposed cuts will be triggered. However, the announced salary cuts only apply to state employees who bargain directly with the State of California (such as SEIU Local 1000 employees and other state employees). They do not automatically apply to CSU employees because we bargain with the Chancellor’s Office.

“We do not bargain with the State of California.  We bargain directly with the CSU”, said CFA President Charles Toombs (Article 31 in our Collective Bargaining Agreement covers Salary). “We are State employees within the CSU, which is under the administration of the Chancellor’s Office — which has discretion over employees’ compensation and operations of the CSU. Unlike other State agencies, the CSU also gets only half of its total budget from the State allocation.

“If additional federal funds are not received via a fourth stimulus package, and if the 10 percent cut in the state budget is triggered and if the CSU begins to talk to us about a cut in CSU faculty salaries, we will fight vigorously at the negotiating table. We are in several meetings a week with the CSU Labor Relations team and they have not mentioned anything about a cut in faculty salary.” 

CFA believes that between the CARES Act, money that the CSU saved during COVID-19 through cancelled meetings and cancelled travel, the CSU reserves (which is believed to be at a minimum $1.5 billion), and a possible federal HEROES Act (which passed the House of Representatives last week), CSU can absorb the $398 million without cuts.

You can read more on CFA’s position on the May Revise here