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California State University Faculty Votes to Authorize Strike
Members of the California Faculty Association on the 23 campuses of the California State University voted “Yes by over 94% percent” to authorize a strike, CFA President Jennifer Eagan announced today at a news conference.
The vote authorizes CFA’s Board of Directors to call a strike if contract negotiations with state university management fail to result in a fair deal.
“We are ready to act if necessary and for as long as it takes,” Eagan told the crowd assembled in a computer lab and classroom in the Engineering Building at San Jose State University, a CSU campus in the heart of Silicon Valley.
“This fight is about the bread and butter issue of salary, but that’s not all,” Eagan explained. “The vision of what the CSU is, who it serves, and what it can be in the future is at stake.”
“The faculty envision a CSU that educates students without driving them into debt, honors the faculty as the valuable professionals that we are, and elevates California by facilitating the next generation of creative, thoughtful, and brilliant citizens who will sustain the state for generations to come.
“That’s our vision, and we’re willing to fight for it,” she said.
As Eagan wrote the vote percentage on a large version of the actual ballot, CSU faculty members in the room tore off jackets and other coverings to reveal red T-shirts bearing the slogan “I Don’t Want to Strike But I Will.”
NEXT: MARCH & RALLY ON NOVEMBER 17
Now that the vote is in, Eagan said, CFA’s next step is a march and rally on the CSU Chancellor’s Office on November 17, when the CSU Board of Trustees holds its regular public meeting there.
“On November 17, the faculty and and our friends and allies will gather at the Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach to demonstrate both our commitment to fairness and our collective power in the fight to come,” Eagan said.
She said faculty from all 23 campuses, from the southernmost San Diego to Humboldt State in the north will converge at the Chancellor’s Office at 401 Golden Shore in Long Beach.
Allies of CFA already are expressing their support building up to November 17, including Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay Labor Council, AFL-CIO, who was at the news conference to speak on behalf of unions in Silicon Valley and around California.
ABOUT THE VOTE
Between October 19 and 28, CSU faculty voted on a ballot that read:
( ) YES, I authorize the CFA Board of Directors to initiate job actions, up to and including strike, if, at the conclusion of the statutory bargaining process, a resolution on salary for 2015-2016 with the CSU administration has not been reached.
( ) NO, I do not give strike authorization. I am willing to accept the Chancellor’s last offer of 2%.
The in-person strike authorization votes were counted and certified in the presence of a neutral outside observer.
The California Faculty Association has dubbed the push to improve faculty earnings as the “Fight for Five”—meaning a 5% General Salary Increase for all faculty. Cal State University management, however, refuses to budget from its offer of a 2% salary increase for facultyin the second year of the contract.
Regardless of whether state funding or students’ tuition rises or not, faculty earnings have remained flat for years as purchasing power declined. See the Stagnant Faculty Earnings Chart here.
The talks began last May and now are in the final stage of the statutory process spelled out in state law—a stage called factfinding.
During factfinding, a neutral third party is chosen to hear both sides. Together with a representative from each bargaining team, the neutral third party writes a factfinding report that recommends how a settlement could be achieved.
After the sides have 10 days to study the report and perhaps reach a settlement, the factfinding report becomes public. At that point, the CSU Chancellor has the authority to impose his “last, best offer” as a contract, and the faculty will have the right to strike.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA FACULTY ASSOCIATION: CFA represents the more than 26,000 tenured and tenure-track instructional faculty, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches on the 23 campuses of the California State University system, from Humboldt State in the north, to San Diego State in the south. Learn more about CFA at http://www.calfac.org
California Faculty Association