February 1, 1999 Vol. III, No. 9

Tentative Agreement Reached on New Faculty Contract

Three-Year Proposal, Including 5% Pay Package This Year, Still Requires Faculty Unit Approval

After nearly a year of bargaining, the Cal State system and its faculty union reached a tentative agreement last week on a new three-year contract that includes both pay raises and an expanded merit pay system.

To take effect, the proposal would have to be approved by the California Faculty Association's Board of Directors at a scheduled meeting in Los Angeles this Friday and Saturday, and then be ratified by a majority of CFA members in campus elections tentatively slated for later this month.

The agreement calls for a 5 percent overall compensation package for 1998-99, including a 3 percent general salary increase. For 1999-2000, it proposes a 6 percent package, including a 3.6 percent general salary increase-if the CSU's state budget request for that year is accepted.

But among a range of proposed changes, the package also includes a doubling of the proportion of faculty salary funds put into the merit pay system each year-from 20 percent under the last year of the prior contract to 40 percent in each of the three years of the tentative agreement, officials said.

The 1998-2000 agreement would cover about 20,000 faculty unit members throughout the Cal State system, including more than 1,500 at CSUN. At Northridge, that number includes about 830 tenured and tenure-track faculty, and more than 700 librarians, counselors, coaches and part-time faculty.

"I believe this is a fair agreement," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, who strongly advocated the expanded merit pay provisions. "It will be really good for the faculty to finally get a pay raise in their pockets."

Reed said the agreement also "takes the California State University to the next step of quality and accountability." Expanding merit pay will make the CSU more like its comparable institutions, while the extra compensation overall should help narrow the CSU's faculty salary gap, the chancellor said.

CFA President Terry Jones, a Cal State Hayward professor, was considerably more restrained. "It's been a long and difficult bargaining period," Jones said. "We've been working as hard as we could since February [1998], and this is the best we possibly could do."

Jones said he was not "jumping up and down with great joy" over the deal, saying the CFA wanted more money for general salary raises and less for merit pay. But he predicted the CFA board would forward the proposal to its members for a vote, and cautiously forecast its approval.

The CFA board, in a meeting open to CFA members, is scheduled to consider the agreement Friday, Feb. 5, starting at 6:30 p.m., and continuing Sat., Feb. 6, at 9 a.m., at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Los Angeles International Airport. Voting by CFA members could follow in subsequent weeks.

The union and the system reached the agreement late Tuesday, Jan. 26, during a session of the CSU Board of Trustees' Committee on Collective Bargaining. The committee shortly thereafter approved the agreement for the CSU, subject to union ratification by Feb. 28.

The faculty's prior three-year contract technically had expired in mid-1998. But both sides agreed to extend its provisions as negotiations on a new deal hit impasse in July 1998, went through state mediation and finally a state fact-finding panel that filed its report in mid-January.

Sam Strafaci, the CSU's interim senior director of human resources, said the tentative agreement largely reflects the terms of the 12-page fact-finding report, but with some changes in details. The system had set a deadline of Jan. 25 for reaching an agreement.

Strafaci said the package would cost the CSU about $48 million in 1998-99, including $22 million for the general salary increase that is retroactive to Oct. 1, 1998, and about $20 million for merit pay raises retroactive to July 1, 1998. The deal also includes $7.2 million toward a faculty professional development fund.

As far as the back pay and ongoing raises specified under the agreement, Strafaci said the CSU would begin processing those payments once the system is notified the union has ratified the agreement. But even then, he added, the magnitude of the task would require some time to complete.

For bargaining unit members not at the top of the salary scale, the deal includes no automatic service step pay increases. Instead, those eligible for SSIs would be deemed to have received them if they get a merit increase. For such employees, the merit increase would have to be at least 2.4 percent.

By increasing the pool of funds for merit pay, Strafaci said the CSU expects to double or triple the share of faculty members receiving merit increases, up to nearly two-thirds. But, the new deal also would trim the maximum possible merit increase to 10 percent, down from 12.5 percent.

-John Chandler

CSU/CFA Tentative Agreement Fact Sheet

  • A 3 percent general salary increase for 1998-99, retroactive to October 1, 1998.

  • All faculty eligible for a Service Salary Increase who receive a merit increase must receive at least a 2.4 percent merit adjustment.

  • An increase in the merit pay pool to 40 percent of the salary pool, which would allow two to three times as many faculty to receive merit increases versus previous years.

  • Merit pay increases to be retroactive to July 1, 1998.

  • Establishment of mandatory department-level review committees for making merit pay recommendations.

  • Continued inclusion of department chairs in the bargaining unit.

  • Two-year contracts for more than 2,500 lecturers with six years of continued service.

  • A more gradual reduction in the duration of the FERP program than proposed in earlier negotiations.

  • Counselors to be eligible for sabbatical leaves of absence.

  • Increased leave benefits for part-time lecturers.

  • A total 6 percent salary increase pool for faculty in 1999-2000, if the CSU receives its budget request for that year.

  • Doubling of paid maternity/paternity leave from 10 days to 20 days for all faculty.

Other Facts:

  • Full professors account for about 62 percent of the CSU full-time faculty.

  • With the proposed 5 percent salary pool for 1998-99, the salary of full professors will average about $71,600 for an academic year.

  • The trustees' proposed 6 percent salary pool next year would raise salaries to nearly $76,000.

  • With the 5 percent increase, the average salary for full-time faculty as a group exceeds $63,000.

  • The proposed 6 percent salary pool for 1999-2000 would raise that to almost $67,000.
Source: CSU Chancellor's Office

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@csun.edu
February 1, 1999


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