University system, faculty association reach agreement

The time has come for the California Faculty Association and the California State University system to make a mutual agreement that will better benefit faculty and students. The concept of the agreement is about the necessity of fair contracts but also fair payments for faculty in the CSU system.

Once both the CSU Board of Trustees and the CFA membership officially make full confirmation, the agreement will be enforced to full effect.

“The multi-year agreement is a tremendous accomplishment, as well as a special opportunity for the CFA and the CSU system to continue to strengthen communication and collaboration as we work together to advance the mission of the university,” said Timothy White, Chancellor of the California State University system.

He spoke of this mid-October shortly after the conference. 

“As we approach the next year with limited resources and increased expectations at state and federal levels for increased outcomes,” said White, “we have this agreement as the foundation on which to build a bright future for our students who deserve the highest quality education programs in the state.”

Faculty affected by this new decision include instructional faculty, coaches, counselors and librarians all involved in CSU campuses. The agreement allows a 1.6 percent salary increase for all faculty members, formally known as a Graduate Student Instructor salary increase or cost of living increase.

Prior to the agreement, there were service salary increases. These were salary increases made as junior faculty progressed in their educative standing; service salary increases were given until they hit the max service salary increase maximum.

Once the maximum was attained, faculty would receive the standard graduate student instructor salary.

However, the CSU faculty members haven’t received a student salary increase since 2008, ultimately forcing many of the faculty to remain within an educative standing, not allowing them to progress further in rank. This contract offers a 3 percent salary increase to certain faculty who haven’t reached their SSI maximum.

“The bargaining team of the California Faculty Association unanimously passed a resolution to the Board of Directors of CFA asking them to support a Yes vote on ratification of the Tentative Agreement,” said Andy Merrifield, professor of political science and SSU Bargaining Team chair. 

The board of directors recommended this tentative agreement because it addresses the salary problems of the faculty caused by the years of under-funding of California state universities by the legislature, according to Merrifield.

With the change in working conditions, students have the privilege to receive more attention from their teachers, as it will create more individual time between student and teacher. 

These changes also allow faculty to increase their skills working with various students who have different challenges.

“I think faculty morale is down prior to the tentative agreement—not having significant raises since 2008 will do that to you. Faculty suffering from inversion (new faculty being hired in at higher salaries than you are making) are quite angry about this,” said professor Elaine Newman. 

Newman continues to address how the issues with faculty and salary have not diminished her colleagues’ enthusiasm in teaching. She also acknowledges that despite the enthusiasm, faculty do deserve fair pay a well as salaries that are comparable to other universities. 

Currently there are around 23,000 faculty members involved in the CSU system all of whom are affected by this new decision. 

The new successor contract will grant all 23 CSU’s with a larger budget offering more opportunities for teachers to educate their students.

“Our working conditions are your learning conditions. First, we want to attract and keep the best faculty we can—this means the professors in your classroom will be the best teachers and scholars that you can learn from,” said Newman. “Having some workload protections also means that you will have a better chance at getting to know your faculty, and engaging in advising, mentoring, research outside the classroom.”

The new successor contract is active through June 30.

For more information regarding the faculty and CSU agreement as well as Sonoma State University’s faculty association, students are encouraged to visit cfa.org.