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Oct
2014
10

Rallies Across California Campuses Seek Salary Boost for 23,000 Faculty Members

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The California Faculty Association (CFA) held a rally Tuesday at Fresno State University demanding that the school’s president, Joseph Castro, fight on their behalf as they seek a new contract with the California State University (CSU) system.  The CFA, which represents more than 23,000 CSU faculty, has been without a contract since June.  While they are currently working on a new CBA, disagreements over salaries have become a major stumbling block.  

Members of the CFA chanted “Be Bold” while asking Castro to flex his political muscle.  The chant is a play on “Let’s Be Bold,” Castro’s mission statement to the Fresno State community since taking office.  The rally ended with CFA members delivering a letter signed by 250 of the union’s members to the President’s office.  As  Dr. Diane Blair, president of the CFA’s Fresno chapter, told The Collegian:

“We need our campus presidents to stand up and advocate on our behalf, hence the letter to President Castro.  They can make up the difference in the proposal with money from campus budgets to close the gap.”

Castro has agreed to meet with the group and says that faculty compensation, “is an issue that has been weighing heavily on my mind since arriving last August.”

More from The Fresno Bee:

The union’s most recent proposal would add a 1.8% salary increase this year and the next two years, plus a 3% raise this year for some faculty who haven’t received a raise since they were hired. The last public proposal published in August shows the CSU system would pay 3% more toward salaries and benefits this year, and 2% more in each of the two following years.

CSU spokesman Michael Uhlenkamp could not provide updates but said both sides are nearing a deal and could reach a tentative agreement as early as next week.

“The bottom line is, we do have what we think is going to be the framework of a deal that we hope to finalize,” he said during an interview Wednesday.

The most recent proposal from CSU is close, but not on par with the union’s demands, according to The Collegian:

In September, the CSU Chancellor’s Office proposed a $6 million increase in funding for Fresno State faculty and staff compensation over the next three years. This comes in addition to a 1.34 percent increase in faculty and staff salaries in 2013.

While the CFA says that the tone of negotiations with CSU Chancellor Timothy White has been “more constructive than in the past,” salaries and workload remain a major sticking point.

“[White] has not put enough money on the table to make a significant dent in the problem,” said Blair, who is also a Fresno State professor in communication.

The CFA is calling on Fresno State to cover the difference between the CSU and CFA proposals, a fix that they say would cost just .48 percent of the university’s budget.

Dr. Diane Blair says a major point of contention is the money flowing to other areas of the school (instead of the teachers) since the economy began recovering.  She notes an inequity in wages between new hires and more experienced professors:

“We are no longer in a budget crisis, and we know money is not scarce on our campus anymore. Somehow we find the money for other things, including new administrative positions, fees for outside consultants to hire these new administrators and a $1 million bailout for our athletic department.

New hires are brought in at higher salaries than faculty who have been here several years,” Blair said. “Essentially, we are penalizing our more-experienced faculty because of the lack of raises these last several years.”

CFA simultaneously held actions at San Francisco State, CSU San Marcos and Sonoma State to coincide with the Fresno State rally.  Actions have taken place or are planned at the state’s other 20 CSU campuses.

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