Sunday, March 25, 2007

CFA agrees to 10 day pause on strike plans at CSU


Today the Collective Bargaining Committee of the Board of Trustees agreed to discussions which would use the fact-finder's report as the basis for a possible settlement. The parties have extended the contract by ten days to allow for the talks.

On the campuses, CFA will continue the work of organizing for a strike. "We are cautiously optimistic," said CFA President John Travis. "We hope that we can reach a settlement but if we do not we are fully prepared to move forward with the strike."

The administration will now have until April 6 to hammer out a settlement with CFA before faculty begin two-day rolling walkouts. CFA has agreed to not initiate possible job actions until the bargaining extension expires.

Cal State University faculty agrees to 10-day contract extension

From the Associated Press

Faculty and administrators locked in a nearly two-year contract dispute at the nation's largest four-year public university system agreed today to a temporary contract extension that could ward off a threatened strike.

The 10-day extension gives both sides time to hammer out an agreement under guidelines in an independent report recommending a nearly 25 percent pay raise for California State University's 23,000-member faculty, officials said.

"I'm optimistic that a settlement can be reached during these 10 days," CSU Chancellor Charles Reed said. California Faculty Association president John Travis called the extension a "positive sign," though the union has not dropped its threat of a strike authorized by faculty voters last week.

The third-party fact finder's report cited a double-digit lag in salary between CSU's faculty and their peers at comparable institutions when recommending the pay hike. The independent investigator's recommendations were "close enough" to the union's proposals to merit the faculty's broad support, Travis said.

In comments attached to the report, CSU vice chancellor for human resources Jackie R. McClain wrote that the recommended salary hike "goes beyond the fiscal priority" of the university.

"We have no idea whether the recommendations can be funded within the money available," McClain wrote.

During a news conference Sunday, Reed would not discuss specific details regarding faculty salaries but said he was committed to using the report as a "framework" for an agreement.

"The fact-finder tried to be fair to both sides and kind of split the difference," Reed said.

The administration's own proposal to increase wages by nearly 25 percent over the next three years has been criticized by union leaders who question whether most faculty would receive the promised raises.

Faculty voted last week to authorize a spring labor strike that could start as early as next month.

Union officials said that despite the extension, faculty continued to prepare for a series of two-day strikes in April in case a settlement was not reached.

The rolling strikes would move from campus to campus to avoid disrupting the education of more than 400,000 CSU students, though a systemwide walkout remained an option, union leaders said.

"We're going to do what it takes to get a contract," Travis said.
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