Shiny New Tentative CSU-CFA Contract=New Kitchen?

Happy New Year! We finally got a shiny new tentative contract between the California State University and the California Faculty Association (professors). Possible 10% raise plus $3500 by July? Should you be looking to remodel the kitchen or will you be paying the increases in your rent, food, water, electricity, gas, dental and medical bills? Below, see what the previous CFA offer was and what we got:

Contract YearCFA originally asked for
Bold = didn’t get it
Tentative Contract
2020-20214% GSI and 2.65% SSI or PPI$3500 one time and not added to base pay
2021-20224% GSI and 2.65% SSI or PPI
2022-20234% GSI and 2.65% SSI or PPIUnlikely 4% increase in GSI unless the state provides $300 million in “unallocated funds” (see contract).  The governor’s proposed budget has a $385 million increase for the CSU general fund, but CSU has to be focused on student centered priorities of finishing in 4 years and equity.  4% increase in salary would cost $90 million.
2023-2024-was this year added?Re-opener means CFA opens negotiations starting June of 2023 for 2023-2024 yearBased on this past 21 month negotiation, I’m guessing CSU will stall for a year or two and we will get nothing.

GSI = general salary increase for all professors
SSI = Salary Step Increase (Mostly for those not full professor) 
PPI = Post Promotion Increase (for full professors or the equivalent)

Other contract issues…what did we get?

Parental leave?
Limiting class size?
 No, sorry
LecturerIf lecturers get an offer from another university, the dept committee could offer a tenure track position if no search is underway.  If a search is underway, lecturers ‘should’ get an interview.  That is it…Unimpressive. 
Diversity & EquityJoint statewide committee will exchange ideas and report.  Profs can rebutt student evals or add information if possible student bias seems to exist. Wait that’s the equity and justice part???  Does this result match the CFA hype?
PromotionInstead of at least 7.5% increase for a promotion, it’s 9% …Not that shiny.

OK, so in the next few months we would get a pile of money, but little for last year and questionable increase equal to inflation in the subsequent 2 years.  This is a contract that probably won’t keep us even with the rising cost of living.  So based on my 23 years in the CSU, the phrase that comes to mind is, “Fool me once, shame on you.Fool me twice, shame on me” (Go to 1:55).

It’s a bad deal.  I propose we vote no and proceed with job actions to get a contract that will result in guaranteed pay tied to inflation with steps (SSI) and post promotion increases (PPI).  Again, we are not bargaining for an increase in pay.  We just don’t want our salary to go down to not go down.

Gettin’ Into the WeedsThis year, the CSU-CFA tentative agreement only guaranteed total of 4% for a 4 year contract.  Inflation is 7% now so we are likely going to lose 3% buying power this year, 1.5% last year, and who knows how much the next two years.  It seems like we are getting more every year, but costs keep going up faster than our wage. 

In the last 20 years we have lost 17%.  This contract we will lose at least 5% more.  We are on a bad road here.  Meanwhile, the chancellor took a 31% raise (receiving more than the governor and the president combined).  According to CFA, presidents will be able to get 10% each year for the next three years.  LA police and fire fighters earn more than 75% more than the national average.  California costs over 40% more than the national standard of living.  And the state has a $67 billion surplus.  Social Security went up 5.9% this month.  Some will say that this is inaccurate.  Easy to say, but hard to prove.  The verifiable links are all in the November and December blog.

The $3500 is a quick fix payday bribe.  It looks good in the short run because we get some cash now, but it’s not added to the base pay or future pension payouts.  Even 1% increase would be better because you get that approximately $1000 every year for the rest of your life. (Last year inflation was about 1.5%)

The 4% promised for next year and the following year is contingent and not guaranteed. Here’s the problem:

  1. There is pattern of promising and not delivering.  Are you going to trust an organization that offered 2% total for of a 3 year contract (2020-2023) during the first 21 months of contract negotiation? 
  2. Part of the 5% increase ($385 million) the state is allocates to the CSUs will partly be eaten up with ongoing costs due to the current 7% inflation. 
  3. The 5% increase to the CSU is based on a “multiyear compact” with the state to “emphasize student-centered priorities” (Page 47 of the governor’s proposed budget). All good things, but it’s not professor salaries.  We have to survive too.
  4. Finally, the governor’s proposed 2022-2023 budget represents an overall decrease of 19.3% which is 2 billion dollars (See governor’s proposed budget page 46).  The CSU received one time COVID funds as a supplement to the ongoing general funds to help with extra expenses as a result of COVID; however, I fear that the payment of those funds will result in ongoing obligations the CSU will have in the future.

So let’s not be fooled.  Let’s start on serious negotiations and “let the wild rumpus” begin (Maurice Sendak)!