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Faculty Union Approves Proposed CSU Contract

Photo caption: Kevin Wehr, left, chair of the California Faculty Association bargaining team...

Photo credit: Associated Press

Kevin Wehr, left, chair of the California Faculty Association bargaining team, and a professor of Sociology at California State University, Sacramento, discusses the independent report that supports the position that faculty members at the California State University system are underpaid, during a news conference at CSU, Sacramento, March 28, 2016.

The contract would give the California Faculty Association's 26,000 Cal State faculty members 10.5 percent raises over three years. It still needs to be approved by the university system's board.

Members of the California Faculty Association, including instructors at San Diego State and Cal State San Marcos, overwhelmingly approved a proposed contract with California State University that would give them 10.5 percent raises over three years, the union announced Tuesday.

The proposal still needs to be approved by the CSU Board of Trustees, which will consider the issue at its May 24-25 meeting.

"This agreement is an important step toward normalizing salaries for public state university faculty," union President Jennifer Eagan said. "CSU faculty are in the classrooms, facilitating student learning and achievement, which is the whole point of a public university. We must protect university teaching as a solid middle-class profession that lets us support our families while we deliver high-quality education to our students."

Union officials said 97 percent of its members who voted cast ballots in favor of the contract proposal.

CSU officials issued a statement saying they were "pleased" with the union's ratification vote.

Under the agreement, faculty would receive a 5 percent raise effective June 30, followed quickly by a 2 percent increase on July 1 and another 3.5 percent on July 1, 2017.

Faculty eligible for a years-of-service increase would receive another 2.65 percent boost in year three of the agreement. The agreement also includes a doubling of the vesting period for retiree health benefits for new employees, from five to 10 years, and increases salary boosts for faculty who are promoted.

The proposed agreement was reached last month, just days before the union was scheduled to begin a five-day systemwide faculty strike.

The university and CFA had been at loggerheads for a year, with the CFA calling for a 5 percent salary increase, and the CSU countering with a 2 percent hike, insisting there was no more money available for salaries.

CSU Chancellor Timothy White said the university will be able to afford the proposed increases thanks to the timing of the raises. He noted that the CSU had already budgeted the 2 percent salary increase for the past fiscal year, but that money was never spent due to the labor dispute. The university also previously planned for another increase in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

White said that funding "coupled with a few other small adjustments" will free up the needed funding.

He estimated that the salary and benefit increases included in the deal would cost the CSU about $200 million over the life of the contract.

The CFA represents about 26,000 CSU faculty members.

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