Paying the people who teach: The Impasse at CSU

We have been subjected to many horror stories of how administrators keep getting salary increases and bonuses while our teachers and professors incomes languish from policies that keep rewarding the big paycheck and ignoring the key work in the classroom.
Speak Out California Board Member, Stan Oden, Ph.D. is a professor at California State University, Sacramento who has been following this situation closely. As a member of the California Faculty Association, he has been fighting to get the attention of the CSU Board of Trustees to correct the inequities that havekept qualified professionals from being respected and paid what they are worth while paychecks get fatter and fatter for so-called “top-level administrators”.
A large and vocal rally was held in Long Beach on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 to protest this inequitable situation and to mobilize CFA’s faculty to “Stop the Rip-offs against Faculty, Staff and Students:” Dr. Oden has submitted the following blog for our readers:

As election time ends, other strategic battles confront those of us who are committed to quality education at the higher education level. On November 15th, over 1500 CSU faculty, staff, and students mobilized in Long Beach, Ca., from around the state from the 23 CSU campuses to confront the CSU Board of Trustees against the CSU contract offer. The California Faculty Association along with other staff unions marched through downtown Long Beach and rallied and picketed at the CSU administration headquarters.
At the meeting the CSU Board of Trustees used parliamentary procedures to keep CSU faculty from speaking to the Board of Trustees. State Senator Gloria Romero spoke in support of CFA but when the board refused to give the CFA demands a proper hearing a group of faculty members, who were in the audience, demonstrated their dissatisfaction by sitting-in in front of the Board of Trustees. The Board then refused to hear the CFA demands and with the CFA members chanting, the board adjourned wherein the demonstrating faculty members took over the Board’s seats and conducted a ‘People’s Trustee Meeting’.
The California Faculty Association (CFA) is currently in a contract impasse with the California State University Board of Trustees and central administration headed by Chancellor Charles Reed. The CFA has been negotiating with the CSU administration within an environment in which the CSU administration refuses to pay full-time and part-time faculty salaries that begins to diminish the pay gap for faculty in comparison with faculty in other universities. The CSU offer of 24.87% over four years after deductions that would not accrue to faculty members is actually, 14.87% over four years. This offer does not come close to addressing the drastic salary inequities facing CSU faculty. For example, there are junior faculty members who have only received a 3.5% increase in the past four years. Also, many junior faculty members are being paid up to $7000 less than newly hired junior faculty members, creating an ‘experience penalty’ for faculty members hired during the past five years. The CFA offer is an appreciably more equitable offering: general step increases and salary step increases of 6.65% for faculty members for four years, funds an equity program to begin addressing the ‘experience penalty’, and provides for post-promotion increases to alleviate a salary ceiling for senior faculty.
The CFA has been facing a CSU administration that has been ripping off the CSU system with high salaries for administration and pay-offs according to the San Francisco Chronicle, to ‘a handful’ of CSU officials, all in the university’s twenty seven highest-paid positions, had been benefiting to the tune of more than $4 million from ‘policies designed specifically for an inner circle of top administrators’. This misuse of university funds jeopardizes the quality of education and instruction at the CSU because it is demoralizing and takes funds away that could pay faculty. The CFA on November 15th filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court to have these pay-offs to former CSU administrators rescinded.
The CFA has been out front supporting, and being a member, with other labor unions, with the Alliance for a Better California during the successful 2005 special election, and has supported progressive candidates and issues in the current and past elections. The CFA now needs California progressives and concerned citizens to rally around the CFA to demand that the CSU negotiate an equitable contract for CSU faculty and to stop the rip-offs of faculty and students and increase the funding of the CSU to fund instruction, and student needs.
It is critically important that letters and phone calls be made that will put pressure on the Board of Trustees demanding that the CSU negotiate an equitable contract with the CFA. Once the state legislature meets in December and makes selections on the higher education committees we will provide a list of those legislative members and ask progressives to urge them to demand that the CSU administration meet our contract demands and stop ripping off the CSU system. Finally, for more information link to We’ll continue doing updates on this situation as it continues to unfold.