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Next Phase For CFA, CSU Contract Negotiations

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez / KPCC

California State University, Dominguez Hills music professor David Bradfield leads faculty in a protest song at a CSU trustees meeting, January 26, 2016, in Long Beach.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez / KPCC

Contract negotiations between the California Faculty Association and the California State University system have reached an impasse.

The CFA wants a 5 percent general salary increase for all faculty. The CSU has offered a 2 percent increase. 

The CFA members voted in October to authorize a strike if negotiations fail. The Association represents 26,000 employees on 23 CSU campuses. The vote was 94.4 percent in favor of authorizing a strike.

A fact-finding hearing wrapped up January 15, according to Toni Molle, with the California State University Office of the Chancellor.

A neutral third-party is present during fact-finding.

The CSU and the CFA each submit written briefs to the chair of the fact-finding panel, who will provide the CFA and CSU with an advisory report recommending a path to settlement.

After each side studies the report, if a contract settlement isn’t reached, the CSU Chancellor can make another offer. After that, the faculty has the right to strike. 

"The CSU continues to value and invest in faculty while maintaining a balanced approach to compensation," says Molle.

The salary talks started in May 2014.

"It's true, we're separated by 3 percent," said Kevin Wehr, chair of the CFA bargaining team and a sociology professor at Sacramento State, after the strike vote was announced in November 2015. "We're asking for 5 percent for everybody, the Chancellor has offered 2 percent, which is a figure that doesn't even keep up with inflation for faculty and doesn't even begin to dig us out of the hole that faculty has suffered the last ten years. It is unacceptable."

Molle with the CSU Chancellor's Office said in November that "it's not as simple as just 3 percent."

"The CSU has to live within our means," said Molle. "The gap is $68.9 million and when you add-in 'me-too' clauses for the other bargaining groups, that gap grows to $108 million."