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Fact-Finder Recommends CSU Instructors Get 5% Increase

Students are shown walking on the campus of San Diego State University, Feb. 8, 2016.
Matthew Bowler
Students are shown walking on the campus of San Diego State University, Feb. 8, 2016.

A fact-finder hired to resolve a contract dispute between the California State University system and its faculty recommended Monday that the instructors — including those at San Diego State University and Cal State San Marcos — receive the 5 percent salary increase that they've been demanding.

However, arbitrator Bonnie Prouty Castrey found that the increases should be spread over the next year, and the money be reallocated from other projects. She also recommended that step increases due for 43 percent of CSU faculty should be paid.

The nearly 26,000 instructors at the 23 CSU campuses have scheduled strikes for April 13-15, and April 18-19, if no agreement is reached. CSU has countered with an offer of a 2 percent wage hike, contending no money is available for higher raises.

"For more than nine months, we have argued at the bargaining table that this package would benefit not just the faculty, but the students we teach, as well," said Jennifer Eagan, president of the California Faculty Association.

"The fact-finder agreed with us here, too, and states that this package 'is in the interest of students, who need caring faculty and certainly in the public interest as our country needs a well-educated population,'" she said.

The CSU system called the recommendations "unworkable."

"Freshmen and transfer students have enrolled. New faculty, advisers and academic support staff have been hired. Desperately needed renovation and maintenance projects are already in process," CSU Chancellor Timothy White said. "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."

The arbitrator also recommended the creation of a list of comparable universities that includes compensation and cost-of-living data, and development of a joint strategy to convince the Legislature and governor's office to boost the CSU budget.

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