California (Adjunct) Faculty Association Caves In to Chancellor’s Office

February 20, 2024

The California Faculty Association (CFA) is a union representing over 20,000 faculty in the California State University system. The overwhelming majority of its members are not tenured faculty, but part-time (adjunct) faculty who exercise the same franchise as the tenured faculty. Each member gets one vote. Since the majority of the faculty are not tenured, but at best have three-year contracts, guess which contingent gets the most attention from the union’s leadership?

When the CRA reported that 76 percent of the vote on the new contract was in favor of accepting it, guess which percentage of the CFA is adjunct faculty? You wouldn’t be far off it you name the same percent.

It certainly came as no surprise to me that the CFA called off its strike after one day. This union’s leadership would never be tolerated by the United Teachers of Los Angeles or the Auto Workers Union. In recognition of the extraordinary erosion of our paychecks the past two years, the Chancellor’s Office offered a five percent raise, and the CFA accepted it.

Supposedly, there is another five percent raise coming next year, but that depends on whether the Legislature and Governor deign to honor their promise. Well, I’m not waiting around to get spit on again.

I quit.

I quit the union, and why shouldn’t I? .The value of my pension (which I will finally at age 76 begin collecting this summer) was decimated the past two years, and the union did not lift a finger to protect it.

And to think that I endured a month of hell on behalf of this union back when things were really tough at the end of this century’s first decade.

Good luck, CFA, with negotiating your next contract when the current one expires in the summer of 2025. You won’t find me wasting my time on your picket line in 2026, when I am FERPing (half-time, tenured faculty), and when the deal you made is worth even less to membership than it is now.

If you ever get your courage back, let me know and I’ll reconsider. But CFA leadership has long refused to take the needs of its tenure-track and tenured faculty membership seriously, and I predict it will never change.

Post-script on Wednesday, February 21:
I was hired as a tenure-track assistant professor in 2006 with a salary that was below $60,000. Mind you, I had a Ph.D. and brought over 30 years of experience as an editor, publisher, and teacher to the table on day one. When I given tenure and promoted to associate professor four years later, I got a ten percent raise, which was 2.5 percent more than the minimum that often accompanies that promotion.

The fact remains that if I had not put in a tremendous amount of work and been promoted to full professor in 2017 and been awarded a 15 percent raise that year, I would now be only earning a pittance more as an associate professor than I did as a newly hired assistant professor, once inflation was factored in.

Comments are closed.