Representatives from the California Faculty Association voted to increase faculty dues beginning in the June 2005 pay period.
According to John Travis, CFA president and Humboldt State University political science professor, the CFA assembly overwhelmingly passed the increase of 1/10 of 1 percent for CFA members.
The CFA represents more than 22,000 faculty members in the CSU system, including professors, lecturers, librarians, coaches and counselors.
According to Cecile BenDavid, political action chair of the CSUN chapter of the CFA and computer science professor, the amount of dues paid is based on a person’s salary. A percentage of a faculty member’s salary is deducted each month to pay for dues.
BenDavid said one of the reasons for the increase is that the union has not increased dues in a number of years.
According to Travis, because the union represents individual faculty members, faculty members pay dues whether they are CFA members or not.
The action coincides with Fair Share legislation, which essentially says that all faculty should pay a fair share toward the union’s activities of representation, Travis said. Non-members, who are referred to as “fair share payers,” pay a portion of their salaries in dues, he said.
Travis said another reason for the increase in dues is the series of political crises the CFA will face in the coming year.
The Nov. 8 special election will put several initiatives on the ballot for California voters. Merit pay for California public school teachers and methods the state uses to determine Congressional districts are two issues that will appear on the ballot.
According to Travis, another initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot deals with whether the governor and the Legislature should be given the power to limit state spending during budget shortfalls.
Travis said he thinks the special election is one of the most critical events that the CSU has ever faced, as a passed “spending cap” initiative will allow the governor to take drastic measures whenever there is a budget shortfall.
“That particular ballot measure is extremely problematic for the CSU,” Travis said.
“We are putting money in a coalition with other unions to fight the governor’s initiatives and to fight for students,” BenDavid said.
BenDavid said she thinks there is no need for a special election. She said she believes the increase in dues is appropriate to fight for the students.
“We believe that the governor’s initiatives will hurt the state universities,” BenDavid said.
“We really have a tough fight against Schwarzenegger,” said Kristyan Kouri, co-vice-president of the CSUN chapter of the CFA and a sociology and women’s studies professor. “He’s really hurting education.”
Kouri said the election is designed to give the governor more power in controlling state finances, all the while costing the state $80 million in special election costs.
“We need the money to use for strategies to fight for the students and the faculty,” she said.
Kouri said many children of the working class attend the CSU, which gives them the opportunity to get an education and enter the middle class.
“The stronger your middle class, the more stable your society,” Kouri said.
Kouri said that if the governor weakens the CSU by continuing to cut money, he’s weakening the middle class, and therefore weakening society.
“I think we absolutely needed the due(s) increase to help fight (the governor’s) attack on education,” Kouri said.
Several union officials said the union’s goal this year is to rebuild the CSU system.
“If we don’t play some role in trying to rebuild the (CSU), it’s going to degenerate,” Travis said.