Magazine Article

After the Fight For Five:
Implementing our current contract & the future of bargaining

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By Kevin Wehr
Chair, CFA Bargaining Team
Sociology, CSU Sacramento

Victory in the Fight for Five

Back in Fall of 2014, CFA settled a strong three-year contract that contained workload relief for all California State University faculty along with some significant non-economic gains. 

Increases to our salaries during the second and third years of the contract were left to be re-negotiated. CFA mounted what became the “Fight for Five” campaign, countering management’s low-ball salary proposal of just 2% in each of 2015 and 2016.  

Most of you reading this article know how that turned out. At the 11th hour, just before we in the CSU faculty began a systemwide strike, CFA was able to settle the contract winning not just the 5% in 2016, but significant salary and related increases through 2017.

As chair of the CFA Bargaining Team, I know that everyone on the team worked all-out for this victory. But, it was only possible because you, the CSU faculty, rose to the occasion and seriously prepared to go on strike. There is no doubt that you, and all of us, were ready.

So, let’s recap what was won. Specifically, the salary agreement extends over three fiscal years, with:

  • 5% paid on June 30, 2016,
  • 2% more paid on July 1, 2016, and 
  • 3.5% paid on July 1, 2017. 

Also in 2017, on a faculty member’s anniversary date, a Service Salary Increase (SSI) will be paid to those who are below the SSI maximum for their rank or range. (See a salary estimator on the CFA web site)

“Look for announcements from your campus CFA chapter about meetings and the survey. We on the CFA Bargaining Team want and need you to include our voice in our union.”

The agreement also provides tenure-line faculty a new minimum increase of 9% at the time of promotion (up from 7.5%), as well as a commitment to remove the requirement that Lecturers be at the SSI maximum in order to apply to move to the next higher salary range, a process known as range elevation. 

By extending the contract for an additional year, both sides agreed to bargain ahead of the State Budget process. This will allow future agreements on salary to be included in the CSU Board of Trustees funding requests made to the state Department of Finance each year.

What next?

RANGE ELEVATION: The CFA Bargaining Team is negotiating with management to adopt and implement the new range elevation process for Lecturers. Both sides have met to discuss the issues and, if common ground cannot be found, the subject will be moved to a binding arbitration process. According to the Agreement, the new range elevation process will be implemented by Fall of 2017.

SALARIES: Returning to the issue of faculty salaries, in order to reach an agreement in time for the CSU Trustees to submit a budget request for the 2018/19 fiscal year, bargaining will have to commence in July 2017—a scant nine months from now.  

CAMPUS MEETINGS & BARGAINING SURVEY: As we move through the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 academic terms, the CFA Bargaining Team and CFA’s Contract Development & Bargaining Strategy Committee will hold meetings on all CSU campuses and survey faculty members as to what issues will be addressed in bargaining. 

Look for announcements from your campus CFA chapter leadership about the meetings and the survey. We on the CFA Bargaining Team want and need you to include your voice in our union.

One huge issue that, due to a new law, will be open to negotiation in our next talks is contributions for our pension and health benefits. (See more on this starting on page 16.) This will constitute a serious issue for our union, since CSU management is likely to seek to increases in contributions. CFA will fight for salary increases and mechanisms to offset any increases in contributions that faculty will have to make in the future. 

In addition to serving as chair of CFA’s Bargaining Team, Kevin Wehr is CFA Associate VP North and President of the CFA Capitol Chapter. He teaches Sociology at CSU Sacramento.
Return to the Fall 2016 edition of California Faculty magazine