Faculty association discusses next steps following salary agreement

For the last few months the California Faculty Association has pushed for better salaries. The union also is supporting a proposal to make the tax increases approved by voters in Proposition 30 permanent.

The tax on the state’s wealthiest residents provides an estimated $10 billion in revenue, most of which is dedicated to education. The proposal to renew the tax could go to California voters this fall. Originally there was a plan for a strike in April, but the plan was ended after an agreement was made.

Over the next three years, there will be a 10.8 percent raise in salaries. It will be divided bit by bit over the years. Originally, the offer by CSU was a 2 percent raise every July. However, the tentative agreementprovides a much different schedule of cumulative increases.
On June 30, salaries will increase by 5 percent, which was the CFA’s original wish for change.
The association’s fight for a salary increase began as early as 2014, where the CSU board settled the contract with the original 2 percent plan, as well as a 3 percent compensation for 2014-2015.  

However, the CFA rejected the original offer, as it wouldn’t be enough for both the salaries and the programs — the original offer would only bring about 68 million dollars, whereas the tentative agreement adds up to 207 million.

This eventually led to the fall campaign, otherwise known as the Fight For Five. This consisted of a vote being placed for a strike to take place eventually, as well as gathering various activists, faculty, students, community members and political figures.

On Nov. 17, the Board of Trustees took action and spoke out about the campaign.

The campaign continued into winter and spring of 2014-2015 through a variety of events. This included the fact-finding process, which provided information to the chancellor on why a raise for salary wasn’t just a want, but a necessity for education as whole.

The strike dates being planned out along with decisions on how it will take place, various conferences such as the Equity Conference and Lobby Day in order to explain more of what would be necessary to push for this change, and the chancellor never having a chance to be away from the people pushing the CSU. California Faculty Association President Jennifer Eagan spoke about strike on Wednesday.

“He was constantly finding members all around,” said Eagan. “Even on his grounds, they’d be there to protest.”

After a fact-finding report was released, and a long series of agreements were made, the strike was for naught, as the decision for the 10.8 percent raise was made.

This isn’t the end of the CFA’s plans, of course. The tentative agreement still needs work to continue to improve funding for education.

They also need to vote to get Prop 30 passed, as this would not only keep the new schedule for cumulative increase in place, but will pay for incoming faculty and other members involved in CSU. Professor and CFA bargaining team chair Andy Merrifield spoke on the faculty’s gain from the agreement.

“It does benefit us indirectly,” said Merrifield. “If it doesn’t pass, we’re gonna fight for it. Proposition 30 is the reason the CFA is supportive of the agreement. This is highly beneficial to us; even though we’re not included in the language, which we should be, this does go in for those in education around us.”

They are working on encouraging fellow members, as well as students and other people in the community around them, to help ratify the vote.

“Voting is a right of membership, and nearly everyone is impacted by the education’s salaries in one way or another,” said Eagan.

Faculty will be able to vote on Friday at 6 a.m. through email. The polls will remain open until April 29 at noon.

Upcoming plans of the CFA include building power by recruiting new members and finding new ways to connect with current ones, working with students and figuring out their needs, pushing the CFA’s current activism into more complex economic issues and economic justice campaigns and advocating for other campuses with needs for salary equality.