This is the third part of a series investigating faculty salary issues.
The California Faculty Association (CFA) had its first scheduled fact-finding session of the collective bargaining process with California State University (CSU) management Nov. 17 to discuss the potential 5 percent General Salary Increase and 2.65 percent Salary Service Increase for all CSU faculty.
The fact-finding session was comprised of one CFA representative, one CSU management representative and a neutral fact-finder. The panel is examining facts presented by both sides and will recommend how a consensus can be reached at the end of the bargaining process on Dec. 7.
On Nov. 28, the CSU Board of Trustees voted 8-4 to eliminate salary caps for new campus presidents in order to recruit more qualified applicants to the CSU system. Presidential salaries currently range from $257,500 to $420,240.
The CFA filed an unfair practice complaint with California’s Public Employment Relations Board on Nov. 19, citing the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA), according to the CFA.
Section 3572(a) of HEERA states: “The duty to meet and confer in good faith requires the parties to begin negotiations prior to the adoption of the final budget for the ensuing year sufficiently in advance of the adoption date so there is adequate time for agreement to be reached, or for the resolution of an impasse.”
However, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state budget and approved CSU’s funding request in June, while the bargaining process began in May. According to the CFA, the chancellor’s budgeting practice fails to be in compliance of bargaining in good faith and has violated HEERA.
Opposing Points of View
Not all faculty members stand in solidarity with the bargaining process and tactics of the CFA.
Don Matthewson, a Cal State Fullerton professor of political science, believes that it is unfair to compare presidential salaries to faculty salaries.
“That’s like comparing apples to oranges,” Matthewson said.
University presidents have an entirely different set of responsibilities than professors, he said. As for CSUF President Mildred García’s salary, “it’s well in line with all the other CSUs.”
“Given the fact that it’s a 40,000 student-plus university, it’s a big responsibility,” Matthewson said. “I don’t think she’s overpaid at all.” Whether she’s doing a good job is an entirely different question, he added, but her compensation is reasonable and fair by all comparative standards.
However, the issue lies with the growing disparity between presidential and faculty salaries, said Michele Barr, vice president for the CSUF chapter of CFA.
“We’re seeing (the CSU administration) go higher and higher, while we’re (faculty) essentially stagnated,” Barr said.
But it’s not only the CFA’s comparisons of administration and faculty salaries that some faculty do not agree with. The bargaining process and strategies of the CFA have been met with criticism.
A CSUF professor, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation, said that the CFA’s all-or-nothing bargaining tactics have been disagreeably unwavering.
“Negotiations don’t work like that,” he said. “I see nothing in what the faculty is arguing where they are willing to give up something.”
According to Barr, the CFA negotiates for what its members want, based upon a CSU-wide survey.
“Anyone who is a member can contribute to that (survey),” Barr said. “The truth is the response rate is not that high, and so we can only bargain for what our members tell us that they want.”
Barr encourages all CFA members to respond to the surveys and tell the CFA what they desire in the bargaining process.
The next fact-finding session is on Dec. 7. After the fact-finding session, a report will be compiled and both sides of the party will not be able to publicly share any reports for 10 days, according to the CFA.
The CFA will only strike next year if both sides cannot meet an agreement after the report is published and a consensus cannot be met.