CFA rally

California Faculty Association members converge on the California State University system chancellor's office during a rally on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015.

The last phase of the dispute resolution process between the California State University system and the California Faculty Association was made public on Monday, March 28 — the fact finder’s non-binding report.

The report from a three-person panel, came from impartial chair Bonnie Prouty Castrey, who said California State University should accommodate California Faculty Association’s requested 5% salary increase. CSU say they cannot accommodate that amount. Additionally, the report said faculty salaries lag behind market comparators — with which the CSU agreed.

The fact-finding panel included Brad Wells, associate vice chancellor of business and finance for CSU, and Kevin Wehr, head of bargaining and sociology professor at California State University, Sacramento, for CFA. Three days of hearings — Nov. 23, Dec. 7 and Jan. 13 — were conducted.

According to the CSU, it doesn’t have money for the requested $70 million — what it would take to cover the CFA’s requests — without cutting commitments to unspecified programs or delaying projects. Both options are unworkable for the CSU, a CSU release said.

“Freshmen and transfer students have enrolled,” CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said in a release. “New faculty, advisors and academic support staff have been hired. Desperately needed renovation and maintenance projects are already in process. Any attempt to pull back from these commitments would cause significant harm to students, faculty, staff and California. And as a fiscally responsible public entity, the CSU cannot commit to spend money it does not have.”

CSU faculty salaries are lower than those comparable, the report said. The CSU agreed, but said it doesn’t have the recommended 5% general salary increase and 2.65% service salary increase — $70 million more than the CSU’s 2%, or $33 million proposal. The CSU said implementing CFA’s proposal would require it to increase other staff compensation to abide by contracts, leading to a recurring $110 million, more than three times the CSU’s available money.

Part of the report said the 5% should be spread throughout the year to minimize the impact of year two and develop a list of comparable universities for a comparison using available data and cost of living.

According to the CSU, that would be difficult, as it’s already nine months into its 12-month academic year.

Another part of the report recommended the CFA and the CSU work together to ask the state legislature and governor for more money and to develop a multi-year plan to continue raising faculty salaries and invest in other critical programs.

The CFA and the CSU have been in salary negotiations since last May. With the report concluding the collective bargaining process, the CSU can implement its 2% salary offer retroactive to July 1, 2015.

The CFA also can begin certain activities, including striking. Strikes are set for April 13 to April 15 and April 18 and April 19.

If a strike occurs, campuses will stay open for student activities, a release from the CSU said.

The state increased last year’s CSU budget, a CSU release said, which helped offset some of the cuts made during the recession, which cut CSU’s budget by one-third. Employee salaries were unchanged during that time, with resources going toward keeping academic programs. With increased state funding, employee salaries have gradually increased, the release said.

The CSU is still underfunded by more than $100 million, compared to pre-recession levels, the CSU release said, but has invested $121.6 million in faculty compensation, giving a 1.34% increase in 2013-2014 and 3% in 2014-2015. Two more 2% compensations have been budgeted for 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. The increases come from the CSU’s general operating budget. Another $21.4 million went to faculty salary equity issues, the release said.

Emily Thornton can be reached at ethornton@gazettes.com.

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Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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