CSU faculty preparing for strike

February 9, 2016

CSU FacultyThe California State University faculty union is planning a five-day strike in April. The possible strike is scheduled for a period that overlaps the Cal Poly Open House.

Union representatives are demanding a 5 percent salary hike for CSU faculty members with additional increases for years of service. The chancellor’s office is offering a 2 percent salary increase.

The two side have been at odds since May 2014. Faculty union members have already voted in favor of striking if CSU administrators do not meet their salary demands.

On Saturday, the California Faculty Association announced that its board of directors chose April 13-15 and April 18-19 as the dates to hold the planned strike. Cal Poly’s Open House will take place on April 14-16.

Many Cal Poly faculty members are members of the CSU faculty union. Last May, Cal Poly faculty members protested the discrepancy in pay between administrators and professors at the San Luis Obispo campus.

Union representatives and CSU administrators are currently in a fact-finding process. The union is allowed to begin striking 10 days after a mediator releases a fact-finding report.

Kevin Wehr, the chair of the Faculty Association’s bargaining team, said the chancellor and his negotiators have failed to respect the faculty throughout the entire process.

“Too many CSU faculty members are falling out of the middle class or unable to rise into it,” Wehr said. “That is painfully ironic given that the very purpose of a state university is to open the doors for our students to become middle class.”


One of my good friends is a poly professor. He makes more money than me and still has time for two other part time jobs. It makes no sense, they are under worked not underpaid.


You’re friend is very smart as he/she realizes that there is no incentive at Cal Poly to actually do a good job. It’s a government job: you get the same paycheck and get to keep your job no matter how badly you suck. The pay is relatively low, so the best bet is to do as little as possible at your professor job and pad your income with outside work.

Oh, did I mention that the starting salaries of some of my students with a 4-year degree are higher than my salary? I better become an administrator so I can actually get a raise.


Without question we need quality education in America. But it is all part of a much larger problem. I am concerned that we are heading in the direction of haves and have nots – but not for the reasons currently in the news.

It seems the haves and have nots are increasingly being defined by those in the private sector versus government. It seems to me that government employs are awarded many benefits that the private sector cannot. The private sector cannot offer these benefits because their costs make that private enterprise uncompetitive.

Government jobs, on the contrary, seem to offer unique and costly benefits. Historically, these costly benefits were offered because government jobs paid less than private sector jobs. Offering costly benefits was a way to adjust for that dissimilarity.

But what we now have is a situation where government wages and salaries are often greater than those in the private section – but the costly government benefits still prevail.

We have is a government that is increasingly asking for more and more money – and they are asking for more money just to do the basic things they are chartered to do. The increased and extended SLO sales tax is one example.

And now we have the state wanting to impose a greater tax on gasoline in order to maintain the roadways. Why does California need more gasoline tax revenue given that California has the highest gasoline taxes in the nation?

Incredibly, the new gasoline tax proposal is one where miles traveled will be used on the calculation. In some ways this makes sense – if you use the roads more than others you should pay more.

But realize that this penalizes the people who work and most drive to their job. It penalizes lower income people who must commute to areas with less expensive housing. But taxing gasoline by miles traveled less affects people collecting welfare, etc. Is that the intention? Impose new taxes on the working class to better support those on the lam?

Back to the CSU system and Cal Poly. Isn’t there a proposal to provide low cost housing to the university employees. The private section surely can’t afford that.


Cathy S.

There is talk, there is no action on subsidized housing.


Please excuse the typos in my original post (“section” not “sector”, etc.).

I am not trying to go off topic, but to add to my gasoline tax comments; the current gas tax more or less takes into account “road usage”. The basic assumption is that if you’re buying more gasoline, you’re driving more. What has upset that methodology is electric and hybrid vehicles, and the ever increasing gasoline mileage for gasoline/diesel fueled vehicles.

But get this, the government mandates gasoline mileage improvements via CAFE standards. But now they want to penalize the public because the improved fuel mileage in today’s automotive fleet has negatively impacted their tax revenue!

It even has another dimension. Automobiles with poor fuel mileage are assessed a “gas guzzler” tax on the vehicle’s window sticker. This is often thousands of dollars. The irony is that the gas guzzlers contribute more tax dollars per mile driven. Crazy!

Think about this too, does this gas tax proposal favor the cities or the lifestyle you enjoy so much down here?

And how exactly do you think the state will determine the miles you drive for their new gasoline tax proposal? Smog checks? But that’s only every two years. If they go that route perhaps you’ll have to write a big check similar to a yearly income tax scenario. Unless you write the check, you cannot re-register your vehicle.

IMO, the state’s solution will be GPS tracking of your vehicle. Your mileage will be tracked and uploaded to the internet and you will receive a monthly bill based on the GPS device’s data collection. Very effective, but imagine the potential of the government knowing not only how many miles you drive, but where you go and when you do it.

Do you really want this?

How this missive gets back to the CSU system is that the government is an insatiable entity that has no budget accountability. The government (and the CSU) has deferred their budget process to you, the taxpayer. Times are tough for many people but the government mandates the taxpayer be the one who has to figure out how to balance their budget. The government will not. The worst part is that government can, but it won’t.

Well, you know what, times are tough for people. My family budgets accordingly, and I can assure you I am spending far less money than I used to. The CSU system, as well as all of government, needs to suck it up and learn how to do more with a given income income stream. This is called productively improvement. It’s a common measure that’s ALWAYS applied to the private sector because you’ll go broke otherwise. Why not government?

“isoslo” has a solution that is absolutely elegant in its simplicity – any CSU wage increase should track the yearly Social Security increase. Someone tell me, why this is not a good idea?



“I am not trying to go off topic, but to add to my off topic gasoline tax comments”

Yes, Yes you are and you did twice.


Sorry. :-)



All government employee raises should be exactly the same % as the raise in social security ever year, no more, no less!


Well, the faculty haven’t even received that much. 5% is to make up a little bit of the “lost pay” from refusal to grant pay raises for years. Still will be behind your social security yardstick even if they get it, which they will not.


The social security increase was zero this year

Cathy S.

Yep but wasn’t zero the last 10 years which was the point made by hijinks.


There is little sympathy. Always based on: ‘but THEY get more!’

Give me a break. Learn to save or have some better financial skills. Or, as someone else posted, find a private sector job. Then you won’t be complaining.


A lot of people are leaving the faculty, as you suggest, but that begs the question: who’s going to teach your kids? Do your really want college faculty making poverty wages to be your kids’ teachers? Do you think you’ll be getting the best and brightest that way? No, you get what you pay for.


Often, what is worse, is that the “they are being paid more” usually references another, similar government agency. I see this in SLO a lot – we have to pay our slugs as much as those slugs in Santa Barbara are making, it just would not be fair!

Decades ago, some public sector leeches often would say, “Well, my job in the private sector makes much more money…” (ergo, the under-performer who could not get a job in said private sector should make as much). Forget about accountability and responsibility with respect to private vs. public sector. I’m pretty certain I know which sector actually has accountability.

Cathy S.

Roy, I can agree with a lot of your general opinions, but they shouldn’t affect those not fitting your situations. They aren’t asking for more taxes or even more money from the State, they want less money constantly going to the administration and non faculty. This is a University, I calculated that there is one Manager for every 2.3 FTE Professors (one for every 3.9 FTE faculty Professors+Lecturers). Over the past 10 years faculty salaries increased 10% while other CSU salaries for managers and supervisors increased by 24%. Just spend the money where it is needed, on the faculty teaching the students.

Cathy S.

Wow, not that I am surprised, but maybe people should look at the facts. Total number of management employees have increased by 146% at Cal Poly from 2011 to 2015. They all receive raises. 11% more students have been accepted while there are 3 fewer Professors. The number of part time and 10 month temporary Lecturers has increased by 130%. Virtually all of the Professors have PhDs and start at $51,492. Lecturers, 63% are part time, the rest temporary employees, start at $43,140. 34% have PhDs and 45% have Master Degrees. Full time Professors have received a total of a 10% increase in their base pay from 2004 to 2014 offering only 2% more. Adjusted for inflation Faculty salaries actually decreased $11,000 over the last 10 years. Do you really think they are being unreasonable? Which one of you only makes 10% more today than you did in 2004? Regarding jobs in the private sector, yes they make more, which is why Cal Poly is finding it very difficult to hire qualified faculty in the science and technology programs. What kind of education do you want your children to receive? Why do you begrudge educators a living wage?


“Do you really think they are being unreasonable?”

Yes…to threaten a strike for higher compensation when the economy is struggling to recover is unreasonable. Especially giving their lucrative benefit package. I happen to know many professors and faculty at Cal Poly and believe me they are doing just fine. A 2% hike in pay is a hell of a lot better than most people have had in decades in the private sector. They should except it graciously. IMO

Cathy S.

I have no idea where you get your economic facts but you are very wrong. Average pay increased 37% from 2004 to 2014 the same time these professors saw a growth of 10%. https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/awidevelop.html


What kind of education do you want your children to receive? Why do you begrudge educators a living wage?

First of all I wouldn’t tout today’s public school education as being so great and #2 educators live a hell of a lot better than I do (I’m self employed) so it may be hard for me to see and understand their plight.


Just curious, but what does public school education have to do with the state university’s pay scales?

Cathy S.

Ummm they are all Public Schools, funded out of the same pot of money?

Cathy S.

Rambunctious, I agree about the quality of education, and part of the problem is the lack of requirements for teachers in K-6 education, and lack of pay for professions who are required to take 5 years of education to teach K-12 and even more for secondary education. I am sorry you are not doing well, I wonder if you did choose to get an education? It is a difficult choice to decide to teach, fewer and fewer are making that choice, as that happens the quality of the educators goes down, you are seeing the results. If you like it then I guess I can’t argue with you.


This story is about CSU faculty and their promise to strike for higher pay. Lets not ignore that they were offered a 2% pay raise across the board. That is not peanuts. When the self employed can go on strike I may be more sympathetic but I won’t hold my breath.


The fed’s CPI says there is no inflation, so Social Security checks remain the same this year. Why do these spoiled, privileged, narcissistic elites think they should get more government money from us? I would be happy to take the place of one of these overpaid, underworked crybabies.


“I would be happy to take the place of one of these overpaid, underworked crybabies.” Well, what’s stopping you? Haven’t seen your application for one of their jobs yet.


More! more! more! we want it all. Or else! I thought that Blackmail was illegal. By and large the majority of these folks voted for the leadership, lousy economy and the debt we have today. Amazing to watch!


I know the pie tin is empty but we want more…go borrow from China and give it to us. NOW or else…


What does disrupting Open House have to do with this dispute? Typical leftist Alinskyite tactics, and it is going to backfire.

Cathy S.

Cal Poly didn’t choose the dates. My goodness, read the article. They also chose to make the strike over two different weeks to lessen the effect on the students. The strike actually will fall on the Admitted Students Day, Open House is Saturday and Sunday, there is no strike scheduled those days. Not everything is a “leftist” plot.

Jorge Estrada

The admin deacons receive 3.5% per year towards their pension formula. In 20 years of strenuous service, they receive 70% of their gross pay as a pension. Personally I disagree with calling this a pension, this kind of entitlement should be called a dividend annuity. This would allow for reality to re-establish what is equitable for all parties’ compensation, as related to what is best for the customers.


If these people with their great talents in their chosen fields are unhappy with their pay couldn’t they get higher paying jobs in the private sector?


You will not get an answer to THE QUESTION you are NOT supposed to ask.


As a Cal Poly professor, I recently started looking for a job partially because of the pay but more because of my frustration with the entitlements of faculty and the lack of cooperation between the administration and faculty. All faculty get the same raise regardless of performance; hence, you have some faculty doing a poor job and not working hard as they have no incentive to do so (many are hard working not because they have to, but because they truly care and take pride in their performance). So, what happened to my job search? The offers were in climates less hospitable than San Luis Obispo, and my wife vetoed the moves. So, I’ll just put my nose down, not worry about the salary, and enjoy the fabulous climate and the warm people of San Luis Obispo. Of course, it does help that my wife earns more than me.


You describe exactly why I left state employment to start my own business 20 years ago. Governor Wilson had attempted to implement pay for performance but the union squashed it. That was the end for me.

Some state employees were hard workers, many would come to work and put their heads down on their desks from 8-4 and then “work” 2 hours overtime.

Hang in there. A lot worse things than teaching college in year round 75 degree weather.