Fresno State professors will be in class next week instead of on picket lines after California State University administrators agreed Friday to a 10.5 percent salary increase for faculty.
The tentative agreement ends a year-long dispute over faculty pay and averts a systemwide strike set to begin Wednesday. At Fresno State, the strike would have taken up to 1,300 professors and other employees out of the classroom.
“Most faculty were informing their students and making arrangements with them to be without their faculty for five days next week. And now that doesn’t have to happen,” said Diane Blair, president of Fresno State’s chapter of the California Faculty Association.
“There was a recognition that their learning conditions are directly related to our working conditions, and so most of the students were rooting for us,” Blair said. “I’m really proud of my union and my faculty for standing up for ourselves and working together to get the faculty some much-deserved and much-needed raises. My hope is that this is maybe the start of much better relationships between faculty and the CSU administration.”
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This has been a distraction.
Fresno State President Joseph Castro
The salary increases will be doled out over three years and could cost Fresno State more than $2 million within the next year. President Joseph Castro, though, is hopeful that the Legislature will invest more state funding in CSU campuses, which would offset those costs.
“If for some reason that does not occur, we will have to figure out some adjustments here on campus, and we’re prepared to do that because we do prioritize our people. But it will mean we will not be able to spend that money in other areas,” Castro said in a news conference Friday. “There is a real dollar impact.”
The California Faculty Association originally demanded a 5 percent pay increase after the CSU first offered a 2 percent increase.
Castro said the latest, higher offer is fair and ends months of uncertainty for the Fresno State community, particularly the students.
I’m really proud of my union and my faculty for standing up for ourselves.
Fresno State Faculty Association President Diane Blair
“This has been a distraction, and I think students have been concerned about whether they were going to be able to get the courses they needed and graduate in a timely way,” he said. “Families have been concerned. Obviously our faculty and staff have been concerned about their compensation. And the administration has been concerned about all of this together.
“So I’m really happy to have closure on this matter. It’s affected everybody and I’m really happy to have that behind us.”
Abigail Hudson, Fresno State student body president, said that all of her classes had been canceled in preparation for the strike. Students are now feeling relief.
“There were so many questions … A lot of students were worried that they would be penalized during that period if their faculty were striking,” she said. “Students were really confused, so this is a great thing.”
The agreement must be approved by the California Faculty Association Board of Directors and the CSU Board of Trustees, and must be ratified by CFA members. It is expected to be voted on officially next month.