The state of higher education is in dire crisis. College enrollment is down, the worth of high-achieving degrees is being questioned more than ever before, and the ever-rising price of tuition is keeping many young Americans away. On top of that all, colleges and universities are facing another battle in regard to staff pay. That issue is felt unwaveringly at Cal State University. And to back these claims up, a commissioned study has thoroughly concluded that the major university system needs to increase staff pay across the board in order to save its failing system.
California State University is one of the United State’s largest public university systems. It employs more than 30,000 staff members other than educators across 11 various bargaining units including police, engineers, and teamsters. But according to an extensive report recently released to the public, Cal State does a remarkably poor job at paying these non-faculty staff associated across all of the institute’s 23 campus systems.
The independent study was commissioned following years of reports that Cal State was struggling to attract and retain employees. The state legislature and Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom authorized the initiative with $2 million in state taxpayer funds to get to the bottom of the growing issue. In finding the concern, the study made three major recommendations to improve staff salaries and wages.
First off, the analysis suggested that Cal State needed to create a step-salary structure. This type of pay scale, often tied into tenure, increases pay rates on a regular, pre-set basis. They suggested this be structured based on various job levels, market data, and geographic adjustments while continuing to recognize tenure, expertise, and performance. Additionally, they recommended that the institute adjust wages within a new pay range bracket set to better represent the market’s median pay, and keep them updated regularly. Lastly, they suggested that Cal State should increase all salaried positions annually by 3.05%.
Furthering the proof that Cal State has long failed to meet job market demands, many faculty have spoken out against the dismal pay rates they receive. Jason Rabinowitz, the secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 2010 said via EdSource that he has various laborers who have been employed by the university for up to 30 years who are still stuck at the low end of their pay scale. Likewise, the president of the university’s employees union, Catherine Hutchinson, stated that the bleak pay structure has been “detrimental” to employees of color.
The investigation findings will be further discussed at an upcoming Cal State University Board of Trustees meeting when plans will likely be floated around. Under the study’s recommendations, the university would need to implement at least $287 million along with ongoing costs in the tens of millions of dollars each year to maintain “market competitiveness.” Additionally, a spokesperson from the school chancellor’s office said that the university intends on lobbying the Legislature and the governor for increased funding to tackle the lacking compensation issues. It’s a big endeavor that might not sit well with the board.