Bargaining Update: Chancellor’s salary proposal inadequate

August 20, 2014

On Monday and Tuesday, the CFA bargaining team met with the Chancellor’s representatives in an attempt to resolve the remaining issues left in bargaining.

While it seems that all parties at the table understand the salary issues, including stagnation, inversion and compression, progression and misclassification, the Chancellor’s proposal is simply inadequate to address those problems.

As the CFA team told the Chancellor’s representatives, their proposal will leave faculty right back where we started instead of setting us on the road to health. We would end up facing more of the same problems, including inversion exacerbated by the inability to progress through the ranks and ranges.

Indeed, that is exactly what divides us on salary—adequate resources to fund progression through the ranks and ranges. In the faculty bargaining survey, at meetings on the campuses, and in one-on-one conversations, CFA members have been very clear—any resolution to the contract must include progression along with fixes to inversion, compression and misclassification.

In the CSU, we achieve progression through Service Salary Increases (SSIs). It is the lack of these SSIs that have contributed to the unhealthy salary structure from which we currently suffer. Not including SSIs in this contract would be like failing to add baking powder to cake batter— you can bake it, but it will not rise.

In truth, there is not an outrageous amount of money dividing CFA and CSU management.

Moreover, as we indicated to the Chancellor’s team, while we appreciate that the Chancellor has put a 3% salary pool on the table in the first year as his share, we believe that campuses also bear some responsibility for the unhealthy salary structure in which we find ourselves now.

While the recession certainly played a role, campus presidents across the system have had ample opportunities to improve the existing salary situation. Some campuses took advantage of promotions to provide an extra bump to faculty suffering inversion, but many more campuses failed to do so.

Additionally, since 2012 campuses have had the ability to create their own local equity programs in consultation with the local CFA chapter. Yet, during the last two years, not a single campus has done so.

Finally, our unhealthy salary structure is affected by the fact that over the course of many years, some campuses have tended to lowball new hires—offering them extremely low starting salaries and leaving them at the bottom of the salary structure for most of their careers.

It is precisely these kinds of unfortunate behaviors that lead us to argue that the campus presidents must be asked to “put some skin in the game” to ensure that our salary structure is returned to health. Those who have done the right thing over the years will not have to pay as much as those who exploited faculty.

As the fall semester begins, we all are tasked with helping to persuade Chancellor Tim White to ask his campus presidents to be accountable for their past decisions and actions or to fix the bad actions of their predecessors.

Every campus is going to have to chip in to help fix the CSU’s unhealthy salary structure.

We urge you to attend your campus bargaining meeting where we will be able to provide you with greater detail about these bargaining issues and talk about the work we need to do to in order to secure a fair contract.