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Systemic Reasons For Wage Disputes At CSU

Ben Bradford/Capital Public Radio

The California Faculty Association, which represents CSU instructors, rally on the steps of the state Capitol.

Ben Bradford/Capital Public Radio

A rally by California State University instructors and students at the Capitol Wednesday was the latest in a series of demonstrations for higher faculty wages.

The California Faculty Association has authorized three strikes and a walkout in the past decade.

"It’s been chronic, and it’s structural. It’s not necessarily about the people in power, although that’s part of the equation," CFA President Jennifer Eagan says. "We really do need to do business differently at the CSU."

Contract negotiations typically begin in May, when lawmakers are finalizing the annual state budget — which includes CSU funding. That almost guarantees when the university starts spending money in July it will not yet have reached an agreement with the faculty on pay increases.

Now, the CSU says the funds are committed.

"At this point, for us to give any increase over 2 percent would impact campuses directly," says CSU Public Affairs Director Toni Molle. "We would have to cut funding immediately for programs that are already in place."

This cycle could repeat itself even before these negotiations wrap up. Without a new deal, contract talks for next year are set to begin in May.