The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Got a tip? Have something you need to tell us? Contact the Sundial

Loading Recent Classifieds...

CFA president comes to campus

California Faculty Association President John Travis said in a speech on Wednesday that the union will not risk the salaries of professors by accepting an offer for CSU contracts based on many contingencies.

Travis’ speech came less than a week after the CSU offered faculty a four-year 15 percent salary increase during bargaining. The CFA turned down this offer because it was contingent on additional funds to support it, funds which would have to be provided by the state legislature.

The CFA will not declare an impasse, even though the CSU has already done so, Travis said, and they have asked that the state Public Employment Relations Board assess the situation to determine if there are grounds for the group to mediate.

“I hope we can get them back to the table and not have to go through this,” Travis said. “At some point we may declare an impasse, but I continue to believe that we still have some ways to go, and there are still many more issues to discuss.”

These issues include salary compression, he said. This is when senior faculty members have taught a certain amount of units but cannot receive a Salary Step Increase.

Faculty grievances would also have to be addressed. Travis said these take four years to resolve and keep professors out of work for a long time.

These talks would involve unresolved lawsuits, strengthening lecturers’ three-year contracts and faculty not losing credit after they come back from sabbatical.

Discussion about grievance issues must move forward to determine discipline for those in breach of a contract, said Sam Strafaci, CSU vice chancellor.

The CFA president walked into the special events room in the Sierra Center to find faculty curious to know why bargaining teams have not arrived at an accord.

Siva Sankaran, professor of systems and operations, said he wanted to know more and make sense of why he cannot afford to take his children on vacation.

Political science assistant professor Chris Shortell said he attended the speech because “it’s frustrating to know that your work is underappreciated with a salary that is worth less every year.”

This and salary inversion, which is when new professors make more than those with seniority, leads to low faculty morale, Shortell said.

In addition to this problem, Travis said the CFA takes issue with a program for CSU executives that allows them to receive more than $100,000 for research and assistants when they transition from leaving their positions into retirement.

“Most don’t transition,” Travis said. “They just go on vacation, come back and then fully retire.”

If an agreement cannot soon be reached, the CFA will consider many job actions.

One course of action is to continue working by again extending faculty contracts, which expire at the end of this month. Another option would be to work without one.

“The minus in deciding to work without a contract is that faculty would be uncertain of working conditions and of their ability to grieve if their due process is violated,” said James Ballard, president of the CSUN chapter of the CFA.

Working without a contract would also make faculty members state employees and entitle them to take federal holidays off, Ballard said. This might result in semesters being extended for students to be able to make up for the lost time.

The CFA could also continue negotiations through mediation by declaring an impasse.

“We’ll request that a mediation take place and I think PERB will agree with us,” said Strafaci. “They’re just not being realistic about what the compensation package can be under the current budgetary conditions.”

Mediation would involve a three-party panel coming together to seek out the facts and make recommendations, said Les Chishelm, PERB’s Sacramento regional director in Sacramento.

While 85 percent of these cases have ended with a resolution, the parties involved are not obligated to adhere to these recommendations, Chishelm said.

A hearing would then be held for each side to argue its case.

If this does not work, a faculty strike could follow, an option that is always on the table for unions, Travis said, because “it’s the only power we really have.”

More to Discover