By Cherie Brower |Staff Writer|
The California Faculty Association (CFA) has filed an unfair labor practice against CSU management for bargaining salary negotiations in bad faith.
According to the CFA, faculty members are “angry” and “frustrated” with CSU Chancellor Dr. Timothy White’s “unfair” salary offer.
The complaint was filed on Nov. 19 with the California Public Employment Relations Board, according to a CFA news release.
Once an unfair labor practice has been filed, the charge can result in an investigation, complaint, hearing, and a remedial order or dismissal.
The complaint, according to a press release posted by the CFA, was based off of language in Section 3572b of the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA). The language states that the CSU and CFA must reach a salary agreement before the CSU sends a budget request to government or legislature; the agreement was not reached before the budget request was sent.
According to the Los Angeles Times, in 2015-16 and 2016-17, CSU adopted budgets of $65.5 million, which allowed for a two percent faculty salary increase, before reaching an agreement with the union.
It is unclear how much of the salary increases the $65.5 million would cover.
Salary negotiations have been ongoing since May 2015, which is the second year of the Unit 3 contract.
According to the CFA, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state budget and approved CSU’s funding request in June 2015.
Kevin Wehr, chair of the CFA Bargaining Team, said that CSU has “violated its percent compensation pool for all employees.”
In regards to White, Wehr said, “he has put the cart before the horse.”
Wehr also said, “the Chancellor decided what he thought was fair compensation for faculty before the bargaining process even began, and that is not bargaining in good faith.”
The CFA is currently seeking a general salary increase of five percent, which has been branded the “Fight for Five.”
According to CSU, the five percent increase would cost $102.3 million, and may cost other unions $37.9 million, based upon “me-too” clauses. The National Public Employer Labor Relations Association defines a “me too” clause as a clause “generally written into a contract as a bargaining unit benefit to ensure that one union does not negotiate better benefits than another in the same region or job class.”
The CFA and CSU have reached an impasse, and are currently in the fact-finding stage of mediation.
Toni Molle, CSU Director of Public Affairs, stated, “the CSU remains committed to the collective bargaining process and to reaching a negotiated agreement with the California Faculty Association.”
The final portion of the fact-finding stage is the fact-finding hearings. The hearings are set for Nov. 23 and Dec. 7. The final stage must be complete before further actions by the CFA can be taken.
If CSU and the CFA cannot find common ground after the hearings, the CFA union may begin job actions, which could include a strike. Over 94 percent of faculty have voted to authorize a strike if negotiations fail, according to the CFA.
The CFA currently represents more than 26,000 tenured and tenure-track faculty, as stated on the CFA website.
Per CFA union officials, a strike could occur as early as January 2016.