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Information on the Tentative Agreement for the Faculty Contract
Message to members from CFA Pres. Lillian Taiz & CFA Bargaining Team Chair Andy Merrifield

Dear Colleagues,

As you know by now, the CFA Bargaining Team and CSU management have reached a Tentative Agreement on the faculty contract for 2014-2017. On October 17 the CFA Board of Directors recommended unanimously that CFA members vote “Yes” to ratify the Tentative Agreement.

The ratification vote will take place between November 1 and 9. It is our goal to complete ratification in time for the agreement to go to the Board of Trustees for a vote. If we are able to complete the process by that time, we are hopeful that faculty will receive their raises—retroactive to July 1, 2014—early in 2015.

Over the next two weeks we will provide materials and talk with members about the details of the agreement. Along with this letter you will find an FAQ that we hope will begin to answer your questions about the new contract.

The agreement we reached addresses a broad range of issues from salary and workload to intellectual property and parental leave. We made important and historic gains in many areas that have been priorities for our members for many years.

Significantly, there are NO TAKE-AWAYS in this contract. While other employees have seen their contributions for healthcare and pensions go up, our contract requires no increases in these areas. In addition, there are no changes to FERP and no changes in the first year for parking.

SALARY

As we have indicated throughout the bargaining process, both sides recognized that our salary structure is broken. Years without raises left a plethora of problems including compression, inversion, misclassification, and stagnation. It was our goal from the start to begin to fix those problems over the course of this three-year agreement.

We felt that in the first year we should attempt to address the problems of those who have been trapped at the bottom of their salary rank or range for too many years. Our proposals for years two and three sought to alleviate compression among the most senior faculty, and rebuild the health of our salary structure by continuing to provide increases within ranks (SSIs) as well as across-the-board General Salary Increases.

When it was clear that the CSU management would not offer enough funding in years two and three to accomplish our goals, we decided to opt for a three-year agreement with reopeners on salary in years 2 and 3. We made sure that the reopener language permits that, should we be unable to reach agreement, we will have the ability to take concerted action up to and including a strike. Details of the year one salary terms can be found in this FAQ.

Beginning in May 2015, we will return to the bargaining table to discuss salary for 2015/16. We will, at that point, continue to work on our goal of addressing compression and restoring our broken salary structure to health.

WORKLOAD

Workload has been one of the most critical areas of importance to faculty. Growing demands for teaching, research and service have made this issue second only to salary among our members. We are very pleased that in this contract, for the first time, we have been able to make a breakthrough on this important issue.

While the new agreement will not solve all of our workload issues, it is a good start on taking the issue seriously, devoting resources to it, and providing a foundation on which to build in the future.

The program has two parts. It should be noted that the resources are in addition to and must not replace existing workload relief programs.

First, there is now guaranteed money for course reassignment time for all new tenure-track faculty on all campuses to help with research and scholarly activity during their first two years of CSU employment. Note that this will be a floor, and any campus that already provides more will continue to provide more.

In addition, there will be a pool of $1.3 million per year established to help faculty who have either exceptional service commitments or excessive student contact. 

Distribution of these pools of money will be done through faculty-run committees and with a binding faculty appellate panel.

We also have won improvements in workload that ensure that coaches do not have to work for free during off season and that Lecturer faculty are fully compensated for work they perform over 15 units.

OTHER IMPROVEMENTS

There are a number of other improvements in this contract which you will find on the CFA website.

Among these are:

Intellectual Property: We have expanded the kinds of work that are protected, ensured that the administration cannot give our Intellectual Property away to third-party vendors and, most importantly, that there must be a separate agreement ahead of time between a faculty member and the university administration if they want to claim “extraordinary support” has been provided.

Online Teaching: To ensure that people who are teaching online have the same rights as those teaching face-to-face, we have provisions that make it clear you have the same rights to consultation and notice about online “visits.” We also have won some protection from intrusive and idiosyncratic use of metrics in evaluations of online courses.

Parental Leave: Faculty with an academic year appointment may combine various leaves in order to take an entire semester or quarter leave.

Sabbatical: A faculty member who has been denied Sabbatical due to departmental factors cannot be denied a sabbatical in the following year based on those same factors.

Extended Education: We have negotiated sick leave for faculty who teach in Extended Education and we have improved their salaries.

WHY WE ASK YOU TO VOTE “YES”

Along with the CFA Board and the CFA Bargaining Team, we ask you to vote “yes” on this Tentative Agreement.

Teaching in our state system of public higher education has never been easy. And getting a good contract has always been tough. The fallout from the most recent recession on our salaries and workload made this round of bargaining especially challenging.

Despite the obstacles and the problems still to be addressed, we believe the current Tentative Agreement deserves your “yes” vote. It consolidates a number of very significant gains, brings immediate relief to those of us whose situations are the most dire, and provides us with the opportunity to resume negotiations to secure further gains in the second and third years of the contract.

OUR THANKS TO YOU

We want to end by thanking you for your role in winning this Tentative Agreement.  While the Bargaining Team worked long hours to craft the language for these improvements, it was only because of faculty support that we generated the power needed to win them. 

That spirit of unity and willingness to take action makes us all confident that we can continue to improve our salaries, workloads, and other working conditions in future rounds of bargaining.  After this Tentative Agreement is ratified, we will immediately begin to plan our future work towards that goal.

 

In Union,

Lillian Taiz, CFA President

Andy Merrifield, CFA Bargaining Team Chair

on behalf of the Officers, Board and Bargaining Team of the California Faculty Association

P. S. We hope you will share the information in this letter with your colleagues.  And please note that the right to vote in the ratification election is a right reserved for CFA members.

Faculty members who have not chosen to become CFA members are, of course, still protected by our contract, and they enjoy the rights and salary improvements in the TA. But to vote, they must become CFA members.

Please refer any colleagues who wish to vote to the “Join CFA” page on the CFA web site where they can join online or by postal mail.

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