Faculty rally for better pay

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“What do we want? A fair contract! When do we want it? Now!”

Faculty members chanted and picketed Wednesday during a rally to engage the campus to their cause of remedying stagnant wages and increasing workloads.

The collective bargaining agreement between the CSU Board of Trustees and the California Faculty Association for 2012 through 2014 expired on June 30, and after seven months of failed negotiations, the contract was extended. Last week, the contract again expired with little movement toward resolution.

Current deliberations concern a contract that will span three years. The CSU has proposed a general salary increase of approximately 7 percent over three years, while CFA wants a 10 percent increase over the same period.

The proposed 7 percent increase has not satisfied the CFA delegation. Since 2008, none of the collective bargaining agreements between the CSU and CFA has included an increase in wages, though University of California and CSU faculty members did receive a one-time $80 per month salary increase in 2013 as a result of the passing of Proposition 13.

The CFA bargaining team argues that inflation, increased workload and class sizes, the cost of living and six years of stagnant salaries make a 10 percent raise viable.

“I still have sizeable student loans,” said Criminal Justice Professor Jarret Lovell, Ph.D. “Our current salaries simply have not kept up with the cost of living in Orange County.”

Lovell warned that larger class sizes means more reliance on standardized tests and less use of individualized and creative assessment tools. All of that hurts students, he said.

“It means more students slip by and fail to receive the more individualized attention from faculty they deserve,” he said.

Salaries that don’t keep pace with cost of living and other expenses has left some professors searching for alternative income sources.

“I’ve had to look for other employment in addition to my teaching job,” said Business Communications Professor Dana Loewy, Ph.D. She often takes jobs as an interpreter and translator to make ends meet.

Dana Loewy, Ph.D., a business communications professor, marches with other CFA members Wednesday. The rally saw students and faculty marching across campus to protest stagnant wages and difficult working conditions for CSU faculty. (Winnie Huang / Daily Titan)
Dana Loewy, Ph.D., a business communications professor, marches with other CFA members Wednesday. The rally saw students and faculty marching across campus to protest stagnant wages and difficult working conditions for CSU faculty. (Winnie Huang / Daily Titan)

The Wednesday demonstrations culminated in the delivery of more than 400 signed copies of a CFA petition to CSUF President Mildred García’s office.

In an email to CSUF faculty, Mahamood Hassan, Ph.D., president and faculty rights chair for the CSUF CFA chapter, called on García to use the authority given to her through the existing contract to supplement faculty wages.

CSUF CFA asks that García allocate 0.34 percent of CSUF’s operating budget to faculty salaries in order to bridge the gap between the CSU and CFA proposals.

Hassan filed a grievance against García earlier this year, which states that the president “failed to act in good faith in implementing Article 31.14 of the CBA.”

In 2013, Hassan met with Jennifer Faust, former associate vice president for Academic Affairs, and other administrators to begin analysis on implementation of equity awards, he said.
The 2012 contract grants each CSU president the power to implement such awards, which are meant to balance wage disparities between old and new employees.

Other CSU presidents, however, pressured García not to agree to the award implementation.

James Busalacchi, Jr., director of faculty and staff labor relations, wrote to Hassan on Dec. 19, 2013 that “García has been encouraged by the chancellor’s office to hold off.”
A section of the 2012 collective bargaining agreement says García has the power to institute equity awards, but is not required to do so. As such, the CSU claims García has not violated the contract.

 

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