Hundreds of California State University faculty took an historic step Thursday, staging the first strike in faculty union history. The action took place at the Dominguez Hills and East Bay campuses.
By late morning, 300 to 400 people showed up, some by the busloads, according to Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association, which represents 24,000 faculty members across CSU’s 23 campuses.
Taiz called the one-day strike a major step in what has been a contentious battle with the CSU Board of Trustees over pay raises.
“This is the very first time we have gone on strike since the faculty got collective bargaining rights in 1983,” said Taiz, who stopped mid-sentence to cheer for a marching band that had showed up at Dominguez Hills to offer support.
“This is amazing,” Taiz said. “The turnout has exceeded my wildest dreams.”
Professors who had classes scheduled Thursday informed students that they would not be meeting, she said. Some professors gave students their assignments earlier in the week.
Union leaders were scheduled to travel to Sacramento Friday to continue contract negotiations.
“We are tired of the chancellor using staff and students as ATM machines to bail out the CSU system,” Taiz said. “People have had enough.”
About 20 to 30 CSU police officers were staged around the main entrance to the Dominguez Hills campus during the strike, according to Greg Saks, a spokesman for the university.
“Our priority is making sure the campus is safe for students and staff,” said Saks, who said the university was on heightened alert after Wednesday’s CSU board meeting in Long Beach turned violent.
Taiz said she attended the meeting to show support to the students, but said she was not expecting students to do the same for faculty.
“This is our fight and we have not asked students to do our job,” said Taiz.
CFA members have not received a pay raise since fiscal year 2007-2008, according to Taiz.
“Ultimately, the goal is to get the chancellor to understand you cannot continue to ignore people in the trenches,” she said.
“If this doesn’t work, we’ll be back.”