Faculty agreement reached, compromise made


Susanna Boxall, a professor of philosophy, said she will still have to work multiple jobs even with the faculty agreement. Photo credit: Ryan Corrall

In the wake of the CSU faculty agreement, Chico State faculty take stock of concessions made and future gains to pursue.

A historic strike has been averted. Chico State professors are talking about the outcome of the negotiations with a mixture of satisfaction and a sober eye on the future.

“We have prevailed, but there is a lot to do,” said Susanna Boxall, professor of philosophy. She explained that she would like to avoid further tuition hikes, more transparency in the system and to set instruction as a budget priority. As for the salary increases, Boxall would rather refer to them as “restoration increases” than “raises.”

Susanna Boxall is a member of the California Faculty Association. Photo courtesy of Susanna Boxall.

According to the California Faculty Association website, the tentative agreement reached during the 48-hour blackout was:

· A 5 percent general salary increase on June 30, 2016

· A 2 percent general salary increase on July 1, 2016

· A 3.5 percent general salary increase on July 1, 2017

· A 2.65 percent service salary increase (step increase) during fiscal year 2017 and 2018 for eligible faculty

While CSU faculty believe the agreement is progress, it has not completely put them on par with educators across the nation.

“Let us not forget that the fact finder’s report found that CSU faculty salaries lag 17 percent behind national averages,” said Michael Coyle, Chico State strike coordinator.

For a faculty member making $38,000 a year — 50 percent of faculty make less than that according to the “race to the bottom” report by the CFA — a 7 percent raise would mean an extra $2,660 per year.

Coyle said the salary increase will make his monthly budget less of a struggle, and that he may start to pay down accumulated debt.

“Personally I hope to actually create a savings account for a rainy day,” Coyle said.

While Boxall is excited for progress, she will still be working multiple jobs.

“Don’t get me wrong, the restoration increases are nice. But to me, it will net me after taxes somewhere between $130 and $200 per month, depending on my course load,” Boxall said. “That kind of money is not sufficient for a lifestyle change.”

Boxall also pointed out that the CFA and CSU negotiation was the result of bargaining. Therefore, it was a give-and-take process. Faculty received a 5 percent raise, but gave up 12 months of retroactive pay. This was a significant savings for the CSU, because that also excused them from a “me too” clause, which would have given a raise to partner unions.

Faculty also agreed to give up the current CalPERS vesting scheme, so that new employees hired after July 2017 will have to work full time for 10 years to get vested in the system, as opposed to five.

“Workers, regardless of the work they do, are stronger when they stand together,” Coyle said. “A labor union is a staple part of a healthy community, a fair society and an appropriately rewarded worker.”


Photo Credit: Amelia Strom

Eric Couderc McGuire can be reached at [email protected] or @ericcoudercmcg on Twitter.