CFA announces dates for a potential strike

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The California Faculty Association and the California State University system have not reached an agreement for the proposed faculty salary increases. If an agreement cannot be made by both parties after the fact-finding report the CFA will strike on all 23 campuses.
(Jillian Lees / Daily Titan)

Association (CFA) board of directors has announced dates for a potential strike on all 23 California State University (CSU) campuses if a consensus about the proposed 5 percent General Salary Increase (GSI) and a 2.65 percent Service Salary Increase (SSI) for all CSU faculty cannot be met.

The GSI is a salary increase allocated to all faculty members within their classified salary range. The SSI is a salary increase available to faculty who qualify for it based upon rank and performance.

The five-day strike is set to occur from April 13 to 15 and April 18 to 19 unless an agreement between the two parties can be met, according to the CFA’s website. Union members approved the strike by a 94.4 percent margin, with an 80 percent voter turnout in fall 2015.

Talks about a potential salary increase began in May 2014 and is now in the final fact-finding stages, where a third party appointed by the Public Employment Relations Board reviews evidence presented by the CFA and CSU.

After the review, the third party will recommend a potential settlement in a written report.

After its completion, the CFA and the CSU will have the opportunity to study the report during a 10-day media blackout period. Faculty members have the legal right to strike after the blackout, according to the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA).

“We are fighting for high quality education for our students. It is the chancellor’s decisions and priorities that have led us to this point,” Michele Barr, CFA chapter president of CSUF, said in an internal email. “The continual disinvestment in faculty hurts students every day.”

Fullerton chapter CFA members are ready to strike if they need to.

“We don’t want to strike, but we will and we are,” said Gregory Brown, CFA member and CSUF associate professor of criminal justice.

During a live webcast on Feb. 5, Toni Molle, CSU director of public affairs at the chancellor’s office, said the CSU is doing all that it can to fairly compensate all employees.

The CSU has budgeted $65.5 million for the 2015-2016 fiscal year for employee compensation. Over half of that money — $32.8 million — is allocated to faculty, Molle said during a CSU webcast.

However, the CFA is demanding both a 5 percent GSI, which would cost $82 million, and a 2.65 percent SSI. Both increases total $101.7 million, $68.9 million more than the 2 percent increase the CSU has proposed for employee compensation.

The gap is a lot of money, Molle said.

“I want to be clear, we continue to value our faculty and we believe that faculty should be compensated for their contribution to our students and campuses,” Molle said.

Compensation is “so important” that it was the largest expenditure for new money received by the state, Molle said. In the past three years, the CSU has invested a total of $129.6 million in employee compensation, with half of it going to faculty.

The CFA and CSU systems are currently waiting for the fact-finding stage to conclude and the report to be filed on the proposed salary increases.

“We expect fact finding to be completed by mid to late March, at which point we will be legal to strike,” Barr wrote in an internal CFA email obtained by the Daily Titan.

“There is still time for the chancellor to make the right decision and avoid the strike,” Barr said in the email. “But if he does not, we must send him the strongest of messages by shutting down this campus and every other one simultaneously.”

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