CSU Faculty May Strike

By: Emily Blomquist

Cal State University faculty members voted October 21-27 for a strike authorization vote. The vote was passed with a 95% approval rate.

Faculty are wanting to strike to demand for an increase in pay and decrease workloads to make it more manageable for staff. There are not any planned strikes, however the union has gone a step further by allowing the faculty to strike if warranted.

Within the California Faculty Association (CFA) there are 29,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors, and coaches across all 23 campuses.

CFA President Charles Toombs stated in a press release that “We are willing to withhold our labor if CSU management continues to say no to investing their money where it matters – the people who are directly responsible for student learning and success.”

Faculty are calling for a 12% pay raise, as well as raising the salary floor for the lowest-paid faculty. They are also demanding an extended parental leave, providing lactation rooms for new parents, and adding more unionized mental health professionals for students. 

 There are different ways the faculty can choose to go on strike, they can decide if they wish to strike at one campus at a time, or all at once across all. The strike has been in discussion since May, however, regardless of the approval, legally the union is required to wait until a mediator finishes and finalizes a fact-find report that will explain how the Union and Cal State should proceed with the process.

Once the report is finished and it goes public, ten days later, both slides will be given the opportunity to come to an agreement.

If the members decide to follow through with the strike, it would result in members not continuing to teach courses, and not responding to any work-related emails, calls, or grading student work. Along with professors, CFA coaches and counselors will also withhold their work, canceling practices, athletic events, and counseling work.

There has been a response regarding the demands from the members, Cal State explained it cannot afford to pay members the up front 12%. They have created an alternative of either a smaller one-year raise, or the 12% increase over three years.

The CSU system explained they are unable to pay up front because the total cost exceeds the amount that is brought into the schools from taxpayers and tuition. The Union has fought back this statement with the explanation that the CSU’s annual surplus can be used for raises and bonuses instead of putting the money into reserves.

The Union produced an accounting analysis that proves there is enough money in the reserves, and it can be taken out and used now for an increase in wages.

Cal State Long Beach held a protest Tuesday Nov. 14. The Worker Union Teamsters went on strike to ask for better wages, and encouraged faculty members to stay off campus during the day in support. This group consists of skilled laborers.

The pace at which the process is going, the report created by a third party that will help both sides come to an agreement should be finished by November. This will then allow the CFA Union to officially strike in early December. There plans to be a one-day strike on four CSU Campuses. The dates planned and campuses are:

  • Dec. 4- Cal Poly Pomona
  • Dec. 5- San Francisco State
  • Dec. 6- CSU Los Angeles
  • Dec. 7- Sacramento State

These schools were chosen because in the CSU system they hold the most students. The strike period for these campuses falls a week before finals week for students.

As the Union and Cal States continue to re-negotiate for new contracts, the possibility for strikes continue. If the Cal States meet the demands for the Union, they will call off the strikes, however if Cal State does not come to the contract agreement, the CFA faculty will plan to strike in the Spring term as well.


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