CSU Faculty Vote Overwhelmingly to Strike

By Dulaney, Josh | Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), November 4, 2015 | Go to article overview

CSU Faculty Vote Overwhelmingly to Strike


Dulaney, Josh, Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)


Faculty in the 23-campus Cal State University system have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, with a walkout to take place in the next few months should last-minute efforts to reach a salary agreement with administration fall short.

Leaders of the California Faculty Association, which represents more than 25,000 tenured and tenure-track faculty, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches, announced Wednesday that members would rather strike than give up on a 5 percent raise they've been demanding for months. For the last six months of negotiations, the Long Beach-based Chancellor's Office has stuck to its offer of a 2 percent raise.

"Our employer has decided what the faculty is worth and it turns out we're not worth much to them," said CFA President Jennifer Eagan, during a media conference call from San Jose State University.

The union voted 94.4 percent in favor of a strike authorization, with voting taking place online and at CSU campuses from Oct. 19- 28. Eagan said CFA doesn't know how many ballots were cast, but the vote was verified by a third party.

Union members cheered Wednesday and chanted "I don't want to strike but I will, I will."

Talks over 2015-16 salary began in May. After reaching an impasse, the two sides entered mediation, which failed Oct. 8 to produce an agreement.

Now the union and administration are in a process known as fact- finding, wherein a three-person panel, comprised of one representative from each side, and one neutral person, review proposals and issue a public report. Fact-finding hearings are scheduled for Nov. 23 and Dec. 7.

Should the two sides not reach agreement, CSU may make its last, best and final offer to the faculty union. At that point, the union may strike.

"No one takes a strike vote lightly, least of all faculty who have invested so much in students," Eagan said.

CFA officials said Wednesday a strike could take place early next year. What the strike will entail remains to be seen. Union officials said all options are on the table, from scheduled walkouts on specific campuses to system-wide demonstrations.

CFA has dubbed their effort the "Fight for Five." The union, which also is demanding an additional 2.65 percent increase for eligible professors, based on years of service, has issued a series of scathing papers this year against the nation's largest public university system.

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The series, titled "Race to the Bottom: CSU's 10-Year Failure to Fund Its Core Mission," maintains that CSU faculty salaries have stagnated for years, with the average full-time salary for a professor standing at $64,479. …

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