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CFA members vote to approve or deny tentative contract agreement

John+Beynon%2C+CFA+president+for+the+Fresno+Chapter+speaking+at+the+first+system-wide+CFA+strike+on+Jan.+22.+After+one+day+of+striking+a+tentative+agreement+was+reached+and+now+it+must+be+ratified+by+CFA+members.
Blake Wolf/The Collegian
John Beynon, CFA president for the Fresno Chapter speaking at the first system-wide CFA strike on Jan. 22. After one day of striking a tentative agreement was reached and now it must be ratified by CFA members.

The California Faculty Association and the California State University System have reached a tentative agreement after eight months of negotiating and a one-day strike in January, but the battle isn’t over yet.

The agreement needs to be ratified by the CFA before the contract can go through.

“We will keep working together as faculty with students, staff, and public education advocates to transform the CSU into a fair, accessible, and inclusive public university where we all receive the investment we deserve, and where we are free from intersectional barriers,” CFA officers said in a faculty wide email.

Voting for the tentative agreement began at 8 a.m. Monday morning. CFA members received an email with a link to vote.

John Beynon, CFA president of the Fresno chapter, said that if the tentative agreement fails and negotiations are not resumed, there will be further anti-labor actions.

“We can request to further bargain with the chancellor’s office, and if they refuse to do so, we could decide to take further work action to pressure the CSU to come back to the table and hammer out an agreement that our members would find more acceptable,” Beynon said.

However, the CSU confirmed that if CFA members vote ‘no,’ negotiations will resume.

“If CFA members do not pass the tentative agreement, the CSU and CFA will resume labor negotiations at the bargaining table,” said Hazel Kelly, manager for strategic communications and public affairs of the CSU.

Upon first glance, the tentative contract appears to favor the lower tiered employees. Some CFA members are in support of this.

Loren Cannon, CFA Humboldt faculty rights chair, CFA bargaining team member and Cal Poly Humboldt lecturer, said that he values the agreement because he believes that it better compensates professors at the bottom of the salary scale.

“It’s crucial to our social, economic, racial justice priorities that we recognize the work of the people who are the lowest paid and the most precarious,” Cannon said in a faculty wide email from CFA officers.

Beynon said that when the numbers are closely inspected, the agreement doesn’t unfairly favor anyone.

“If you focus on percentages, a lecturer who sees a bump of, say, 21% in their overall salary could appear to be at a greater advantage than a full professor who is seeing a 10% increase to theirs,” Beynon said. “Things look different, however, when you compare the actual dollar amounts…”

He says that the CSU “exploits” and “undervalues” temporary faculty, regardless of how long they’ve worked there. The new contract includes benefits for everyone.

“CFA is and should be equity-minded when it comes to negotiating new contracts,” he told The Collegian. “This tentative agreement, whether you feel it goes far enough or not, includes benefits for everyone. Some of our faculty, however, need a greater uplift than others.”

The CFA is aware that there are people who are upset with the agreement.

“Horrified at how badly we let students down with this agreement. I’m literally embarrassed and ashamed to see my students, actually. Disgusted. Disheartened. Furious. Disappointed,” said a commenter on the CFA’s Instagram page.

To combat this, the CFA has hosted virtual town hall meetings for CFA members to attend and voice their questions or concerns.

“I attended a town hall recently, and while there was a robust debate about the merits of the agreement and the process by which it was reached, there was also mutual respect and solidarity,” Beynon said. “Ultimately, the members decide whether to accept the agreement.”

CFA members can vote on the agreement here through Sunday Feb. 18.

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