The March CSU Trustees meeting included passionate and urgent demands for campus safety and faculty and staff compensation.

On March 22, third party consultant Mercer unveiled limited findings from its faculty compensation study. Trustees also announced they extended the search for the next president of CSU Los Angeles. Recently retired CSU East Bay President Leroy Morishita will serve as interim president starting July 31.

Students, faculty, and staff took to public comment March 21 demanding CSU trustees and administration address systemic workplace bullying, unsafe working environments, financial dignity on the job, and racist harassment by university police.

CFA Long Beach member Claire Garrido-Ortega relayed a recent conversation with her partner while filling out their income taxes. They discovered that though Garrido-Ortega has been teaching, conducting research, and providing service for nearly two decades, her partner’s pay after one year of teaching is more than hers.

“So after one year of teaching, my husband’s base salary is higher than my base salary as a highly experienced lecturer teaching in the CSU for 18 years!” she told trustees. “I feel totally devalued after dedicating so much to our amazing students in the CSU. Lecturer faculty are not valued in the CSU. I’m asking the BOTs to prioritize lecturer faculty issues: salary and workload. Lecturer faculty retention is becoming an issue and now I understand why.”

CSU Employees Union, Teamsters, Academic Professionals of California, and CFA members urged the CSU management to partner with their workers to solve issues impacting student learning conditions and employee working conditions.

Union members spoke of the broken salary system, salary negotiations that wrap low pay status quo in a bow, California’s high cost of living and national inflation, racist harassment by university police, lack of adequate parental leave, and unsafe and unsanitary campus buildings.

CFA Pomona member Frances Mercer detailed her frustration trying to negotiate adequate and fair paid parental leave for the CSU’s working parents. After 22 hours of meetings with the CSU Chancellor’s Office, Mercer concludes the CSU is not interested in good faith efforts to meet the needs of its workers.

A crowd of people outside
CFA Sacramento President and CFA Associate Vice President, North, Margarita Berta-Ávila (lower left) attends a CSU unions solidarity action at Sacramento State.

“On the Chancellor’s Office side, the meetings are led by a corporate lawyer and labor-negotiator who use textbook union-busting tactics like stalling, obfuscating, trying to pit different groups against one another, scapegoating, coming to meetings unprepared, and taking up large chunks of the meeting by reading from documents that could have been sent to the committee in advance,” said Mercer, Cal Poly Pomona associate professor and member of CFA’s Parents and Caregivers Coalition. “The Chancellor’s Office does not have accurate data on usage of our parental leave benefit and their cost-calculation for expanding the benefit is off by at least two-fold. Our parental leave benefit is the shortest in duration, by a significant margin, of any comparators. This working group will not come to a consensus, so our new parental leave bill, (Assembly Bill) 1123, demands your support, if you want to attract and retain young women faculty.”

Several students and others spoke on behalf of the CSU’s athletic trainers whose health and well-being are being exploited under abusive work schedules. Speakers presented a petition pointing to trainers’ role providing critical health care to student athletes.

CFA members are proud to join our union siblings in the critical fight for better and safer campuses. Our students deserve it, our members deserve it. Look out for solidarity and unity days on CSU campuses to show CSU management we are stronger together.

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