After two and a half years of litigious negotiations, protests and a strike vote, faculty at the 23 Cal State campuses overwhelmingly approved a new contract with the university system.
Union members didn’t gain much – the 1% across-the-board salary increase they’d asked for was a no-go. But they did manage to stave off even more cuts.
Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association, said it was imperative for future negotiations not to concede too much in this round.
“Not being in a hole is a real victory,” Taiz said and added, “We got some small things for our members…Really important elements.”
Those elements included preventing wage cuts for summer school and extension course faculty, and securing 3-year contracts for part-time lecturer faculty. That’ll provide some job security for more than half the teaching staff at Cal State campuses.
Although fewer than half the union’s 23,000 members voted, 91 percent of those who did approved the new contract.
Taiz isn’t alone if feeling the new contract is a good deal. Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the university system, called the agreement fair “especially given the challenging budget situation that the state of California faces.”
The 1% pay raise would have cost Cal State about $20 million. Uhlenkamp says the system hasn’t made public asked how much the new contract will cost.
Cal State schools face another $250 million in trigger cuts come November. That would be on top of the $750 million the 23 schools have lost in recent years.
Faculty members had authorized a series of 2-day rolling strikes across all 23 campuses, but they reached an agreement before the fall semester began.
The contract is not final yet. Cal State trustees will vote to ratify the agreement on September 18th. If it passes, the process will start anew in June of 2014, when this contract expires.