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CSU spends $19 million on increased salary for faculty

Mozes Zarate

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Vincent Ornelas

Vincent Ornelas

For the first time in five years, many of the more than 23,000 faculty members within the California State University system will receive a salary increase as a result of an agreement between the faculty union and CSU.

The CSU and the California Faculty Association, respectively the largest higher education system and largest faculty union in the United States, agreed Aug. 26 to increase the annual compensation pool of employees by $19.2 million, according to a memorandum of the agreement.

The employees who will receive the pay boost include tenured and tenure track faculty, lecturers, coaches, counselors and librarians.

The 1.34 percent increase, which will be distributed evenly among all union members, will be more “symbolic than substantive,” said Vincent Ornelas, a social work professor and CFA chapter president for Chico State.

“Everyone recognizes that there has been a tremendous amount of sacrifice,” Ornelas said. “People are looking at this increase as a gesture of goodwill and perhaps a harbinger of things to come as we move forward with the successor contract.”

The last across-the-board salary increase for faculty was in 2008, according to a CSU public affairs report. Until now, budget constraints in California have limited efforts to improve salaries and working conditions, according to the report.

Specifics on how that increase will be implemented for each faculty member at Chico State are still being determined, said Michael Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the CSU. The individual raises awarded to each faculty member will be based on their current pay and employment status.

The CFA has already begun preparing for negotiations for another contract, due to take effect soon after the current contract expires in summer 2014.

Ornelas says that much of the next contract’s discussion has been centered on “things beyond salary,” including the number of class sections available to students and classroom sizes.

“People are very concerned about working conditions,” Ornelas said. “Working conditions of the faculty are the learning conditions of the student.”

The CFA surveyed the members of its chapters earlier this month to assess the financial needs of each campus. Chico members will meet Sept. 23 to discuss the results of the survey.

Uhlenkamp said that there isn’t a definitive timeline for the bargaining of the next contract, pointing out that there are 41 articles in the contract to be negotiated between the two organizations.

“It is a monumental task,” Uhlenkamp said.

The CSU will have to pay faculty on the terms of the new contract starting Dec. 1. The pay will be retroactive to July 1.

“It’ll be something a little extra for the holidays,” Ornelas said.

 

Mozes Zarate can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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CSU spends $19 million on increased salary for faculty