Capitol Alert

CSU faculty set stage to push for raise

Dr. Sarah Strand, a part-time lecturer with a full-time day job, teaches a psychology course at Sacramento State on Jan. 28, 2014.
Dr. Sarah Strand, a part-time lecturer with a full-time day job, teaches a psychology course at Sacramento State on Jan. 28, 2014. The Sacramento Bee file

As it prepares to reopen contract negotiations in May, the California State University’s faculty union has launched a campaign arguing that workers’ salaries have not kept up with the times.

In a series of reports, the California Faculty Association makes the case that the average CSU faculty salary has lost purchasing power over the past decade, with more money shifted to administrators and other purposes. The second of four reports, released Tuesday, asserts that while the CSU budget grew by a third between 2004 and 2014, spending on managers and supervisors went up by 48 percent, compared to 25 percent for faculty.

The report also states that the number of managers and supervisors system-wide grew by about 19 percent during that time, while the number of tenure-track faculty fell by 3 percent. CSU increasingly turned to part-time professors as it looked to cut costs during the recession.

The faculty association pointedly blames the university.

“Those trends cannot be explained by simply pointing to external factors; rather, they are the result of administrative choices based on administrative priorities,” it wrote in the report’s executive summary. “Over at least the last decade, CSU administrators, like many corporate executives, have consistently and vigorously prioritized those at the top of the organizational hierarchy, while others in the CSU have been left to languish.”

In May, the university will resume discussions on a new three-year contract approved last fall by the faculty association, which represents about 25,000 instructional faculty, coaches, librarians and counselors at CSU’s 23 campuses. The contract provides a general 1.6 percent salary increase for all faculty members, with an additional 3 percent hike for targeted faculty whose salaries remain below more junior colleagues and adjustments to lecturers’ salary ranges. It included the option to reopen negotiations for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years.

“The CSU deeply values its faculty and is committed to investing in faculty compensation,” the university said in a statement. “ For the last two years, more than $129.6 million has been invested in employee compensation increases – more than half going to faculty – with another $65.5 million slated for 2015-16. The CSU stands with the California Faculty Association in advocating for additional resources from the Governor and Legislature.”

High administrative pay has also emerged as point of contention in the University of California’s contentious budget negotiations with the state.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.