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Cal State faculty union approves new contract with salary raises, increased parental leave

In World
February 20, 2024

California State University faculty voted to approve a new contract with administrators that offers salary raises and increased paid parental leave.

The California Faculty Association, which represents 29,000 CSU faculty members, announced on Monday that 76% of its voting members approved the new contract, which includes raises that total more than 10% within the next six months.

The union reached a tentative agreement with CSU administrators late last month, less then 24 hours after faculty members walked off the job in what was planned to be a weeklong, systemwide strike.

The faculty union reached the deal after eight months of bargaining negotiations with CSU administrators and numerous job actions, including two sets of strikes.

The CFA said the new contract also raises the salary floor for the lowest-paid faculty members, acknowledges the need to improve student-to-counselor ratios, addresses workload relief and long-standing racial, social, and gender inequities.

“We thank members for their solidarity, debate, and courage to press CSU management for better faculty working and student learning conditions, especially everyone who worked tirelessly organizing the successful strikes and joining the picket lines,” CFA President Charles Toombs said in a news release. “We look forward to working together to continue our advocacy for an equitable CSU.”

Sacramento State psychology professor of Sharon Furtak, center, chants “the union united will never be divided” during a one-day rolling strike on at the school Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. The California Faculty Association on Monday Feb. 19, 2024, announced its members voted to approve a new contract with the CSU.

Sacramento State psychology professor of Sharon Furtak, center, chants “the union united will never be divided” during a one-day rolling strike on at the school Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. The California Faculty Association on Monday Feb. 19, 2024, announced its members voted to approve a new contract with the CSU.

The new contract will take effect once CSU trustees approve the agreement at their next scheduled meeting from March 24 through 27. CFA officials said they urged CSU administrators to call a special Board of Trustees meeting to approve the new contract sooner.

CSU administrators on Monday said they were pleased with the results of the faculty union ratification vote. They also said they look forward to the CSU Board of Trustees ratification of the new faculty contract in March, according to a written statement from the CSU Office of the Chancellor.

“This agreement provides for a 10 percent general salary increase to all faculty by July, with a raise in salary minimums for the lowest-paid faculty that will result in increases—some as high as 21 percent—for many of them,” according to the CSU statement.

“It also addresses issues that the CFA identified as extremely important to its members, such as increased paid family leave from 6 to 10 weeks and a process for making gender-inclusive restrooms and lactation spaces more easily accessible.”

Last month’s faculty strike came as a new semester began at CSU campuses for many of the system’s 450,000 students. Although faculty were previously adamant about receiving 12% raises, they settled for smaller raises in exchange for other commitments from CSU.

Those commitments included raising the parental leave allowance from six to 10 weeks, guaranteeing union representation for faculty when interacting with campus police, improving access to lactation spaces and gender-inclusive restrooms and providing support for lecturer engagement in service work.

“We will continue advocating against management’s self-defeating austerity policies, affordability and access for students, and combatting anti-Black racism to create campuses that serve all of us,” said Sharon Elise, CFA associate vice president and a CSU, San Marcos professor said in the news release.

Elise said some faculty members had strong concerns about the process and questions about the result.

“We will only be successful if we’re working together to continue building a CSU that empowers students and provides work environments that support faculty and staff,” Elise said in the news release.

Sacramento State sociology lecturer Danielle Duckett joins hundreds on the picket line of a one-day rolling strike at CSUS on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. The California Faculty Association on Monday Feb. 19, 2024, announced its members voted to approve a new contract with the CSU.

Sacramento State sociology lecturer Danielle Duckett joins hundreds on the picket line of a one-day rolling strike at CSUS on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. The California Faculty Association on Monday Feb. 19, 2024, announced its members voted to approve a new contract with the CSU.

The more than 10% in raises in the contract includes a 5% salary boost for all faculty retroactive to July 1 of last year. All faculty also will earn an additional 5% salary increase this summer on July 1, although that raise is contingent upon the CSU not losing money due to cuts in the California budget. The tentative agreement will also, on July 1 of this year, raise the pay floor by $3,000 and $6,000 for faculty in the two lowest-paid tiers of the salary range.

The Bee’s Maya Miller contributed to this story.

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