Patrick Trautfield

Cal Poly faculty members picketed Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in protest of stalled California Faculty Association meetings regarding contracts with the California State University system.

The CFA is concerned with the lack of resolution between its 23,000 members and the CSU system. Most specifically, the CFA has an issue with the new salary changes.

Cal Poly is just one of the 23 CSU campuses where pickets are taking place this month.

“I believe the picketing is important to build faculty and public awareness of the situation, and to let the administration negotiators know that the faculty are unhappy with what has been offered,” said professor Richard Saenz, the president of the CFA’s Cal Poly chapter.

A budget request of $4.5 billion was approved by the California State University Board of Trustees for the 2007-08 fiscal year. The new budget is a $266.8 million increase from last year’s, according to the CSU system. Roughly $130 million of the prospected budget would go to decreasing the salary gap of CSU employees and faculty.

“The proposed budget requests full funding under the Compact for Higher Education to support an overwhelming demand for enrollment, address CSU employee salaries, and meet ever increasing health benefits and energy costs,” CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said.

The suggested changes in salary appear positive for CSU faculty; however, the CFA is demanding more. The plan presents a 20.75 percent salary increase over the next four years. But of this roughly 21 percent increase, faculty will see only about 10 percent in salary boosts, according to the CFA Web site.

The other part of the increase will not directly affect the salaries because of specific programs, like a merit program, set up by the CSU system.

Among the CFA’s concerns is that since 1997, raises for campus presidents have totaled an estimated 49 percent while general salary increases for state campus faculty have totaled 17 percent.

Through negotiation meetings, the CFA is requesting changes to raise salary increases. The CSU system, however, has continued to stand by the original plan stating that there is not enough money to further increase salaries.

“We are disappointed that although the CSU has put a generous salary increase on the table, the CSU and the CFA have not been able to reach agreement on a new contract through the negotiations process,” said Jackie R. McClain, CSU vice chancellor for Human Resources.

In their campaign, entitled CSI: CSU (named after the hit TV series) the CFA hopes to invoke public understanding and action into the issue. With this campaign, the CFA introduces their own ideas for increasing salaries and mending the ties between the organization and the CSU system.

Among its suggested plans are “guaranteed service salary increases not funded by reduction of the general salary increase,” and a relief of salary compression problems by allowing more senior faculty to rise above the maximum service salary step increases.

Sessions to resolve the issues between the faculty union and the CSU system ended in mid-December without reaching any agreement. Since this standstill, CFA members and supporters have been rallying behind the CSI: CSU program to change the plans offered by the CSU system.

Picketing and rallies have been taking place around the state since early November.

The picketing did not affect Cal Poly classes or student services.

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