Education

CSU faculty, administration agree on 10.5 percent raise

CSU officials and the union have reached a tentative agreement on a pay raise. Here, Cal Poly President Jeff Armstrong (left, green shirt) and Cal Poly faculty union president Graham Archer (right, green shirt) talk at a protest in May led by faculty pushing for a pay increase.
CSU officials and the union have reached a tentative agreement on a pay raise. Here, Cal Poly President Jeff Armstrong (left, green shirt) and Cal Poly faculty union president Graham Archer (right, green shirt) talk at a protest in May led by faculty pushing for a pay increase. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

After months of wrangling and a planned strike next week, the California State University system and the CSU faculty union have reached a tentative agreement on salary negotiations that will give teachers a 10.5 percent salary increase over the next two years.

The deal, if ratified by both sides as expected, entails a 5 percent raise starting on June 30, a 2 percent hike beginning July 1, and a 3.5 percent increase starting July 1, 2017. The tentative agreement also provides a 2.65 percent increase for faculty who reach certain benchmark levels of service.

And the negotiation raises the minimum pay increase for those who are promoted in rank to 9 percent salary increase versus the current minimum 7.5 percent.

Faculty union members, including those at Cal Poly, had been planning a five-day strike to begin next week. With the framework in place on a deal, the strike has been canceled.

“It is time to start healing,” said Cal Poly faculty union president Graham Archer. “The rift that has been formed between the administration and faculty needs to be repaired. This partially helps that.”

The faculty had been preparing a five-day strike, set to begin next week, after pushing for a 5 percent hike for this school year. The CSU had offered 2 percent.

The agreement doesn’t give faculty a raise this year, as they’d hoped, but it represents compromise on both sides. CSU Chancellor Timothy White and California Faculty Association president Jennifer Eagan jointly announced the news in a conference call held Friday morning.

Both sides have agreed to work together to advocate for additional state funding, which currently covers less than half of the costs to operate Cal Poly, as well as other CSU universities. The rest relies on student tuition and fundraising dollars.

“This took multiple years to develop,” White said during the call. “Even before the recession, California has not been properly investing in the CSU education. This three-year plan that gives us breathing room.”

The agreement is expected to be ratified by the faculty union in coming weeks and then the CSU Board of Trustees at its meeting May 24-25.

“To fulfill and expand our mission, we need a fully funded budget for 2017-18 and beyond that enables us to recruit and retain top academic talent so we can continue to provide California with high quality graduates,” White added in a statement.

Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier said that the university is pleased “that the two sides have reached a tentative agreement and avoided a disruptive strike.”

The strike, set to take place from April 13-19, would have coincided with Cal Poly’s Open House, scheduled for April 14-16.

“Cal Poly employees and administrators agree that our faculty and staff wages need to be higher,” Lazier said. “Cal Poly has committed to investing in higher compensation through a multiyear, campus-specific salary program. That initiative began last year and is ongoing.”

The university has set aside more than $3 million for faculty raises over a four-year period; this year, 316 faculty and 300 staff received raises as part of a $1.5 million increase.

On March 28, a factfinding report released as part of the arbitration process determined that the CSU should offer its teaching staff a 5 percent raise.

Archer said that, after months of stalled negotiations, he sees the impact that the threat of a strike can have.

“I clearly see the power of a strike,” Archer said. “Had we not organized for a strike and had that threat not been absolutely credible, palpable, we would have seen again exactly what they offered, 2 percent.”

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