CSU Faculty Union Votes to Approve Strike

Absent pay raises, the California Faculty Association voted Monday in favor of a one-day strike.

More than 90 percent of the California Faculty Association's members voted Monday to approve a one-day strike in response to rescinded faculty pay raises from the California State University.

Both CSU East Bay and CSU Dominguez Hills campuses will host the strike on Nov. 17 in hopes to spread the word of the problems the faculty is facing and to get the attention of the administration.

Statewide CFA President Lillian Taiz said the faculty’s fight is directly for the education of the students.

“Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions,” Taiz said.

She said there have been two times that state-appointed, neutral third-party fact-finders have looked at the data and advised the chancellor to pay these raises.

“These conditions are happening across the country,” Taiz said. “We don’t think we are special. But it is important to model to our students that we really shouldn’t just curl up in a ball and wait.”

Taiz said she believes that teachers have more of an “obligation” to show the students their fight.

“We are teachers not only with words, but with what we do,” Taiz said.

In addition to this one-day event, all 23 CSU campuses will hold informational pickets Tuesday, Nov. 8 and Wednesday, Nov. 9, to spread the word about the union's grievances.

“One issue is our contract,” said Nate Thomas, CSU Northridge's CFA chapter president. “We are still working off the old contract which expired in June 30, 2010.”

“We have violated the old contract,” Thomas said. “We were to get salary adjustments in the 2008-2009 year and the 2009-2010, but (CSU Chancellor Reed) decided to spend the money on other ‘operational needs.’”

Thomas said one of these operational needs included the hiring of the new San Diego State University President at $400,000 a year, a $100,000 increase from his predecessor.

“We would prefer to do what we love; our research and creative projects,” Thomas said. “But we deserve a fair contract and fair treatment.”

The CSU faculty union was set to strike in 2007 but it was cancelled on the last day before the strike due to a settlement being reached.

Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the Chancellors Office, said the CSU will work with the campuses as much as possible on the day of the strike.

“We are concerned with the disruption of the campus and the safety of the students and employees,” Uhlenkamp said.

While the faculty union continues to fight for unpaid raises from the last two years, Taiz said the administration and the CFA have been meeting to bargain on a successor contract and are set to meet again Nov. 18. 

The CSU system has been affected deeply by a $650 million cut from state funding in the past three years and has raised tuition in the last academic year by 20 percent. 

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