CFA Holds Meeting Over Decision to Strike

By Albert Perez

In the 30 years that the California Faculty Association has been
functioning, it’s members are yet to go on strike over a contract
dispute.

However that could change due to the stalled contract negations
between the CFA and the California Sate Universities Chancellor Dr.
John Reid and Board of Trustees.

Cal Poly Pomona’s CFA held a informational meeting Thursday to
address it ‘s members about the current state of the negotiations
and a possible strike.

“Things don’t look good at this point. We don’t have a contract,
the Chancellor’s Office has given us a phony salary offer ,” said
Dr. John Lloyd, member of the CFA bargaining team and Cal Poly
Pomona professor of history . “They have been very resistant to our
demands. They have not been willing to compromise and that tells me
that they’re not serious about trying to reach an agreement.”

“At this point , that’s what were trying to get decided.
Membership has to vote on that , its done democratically,” said
Lloyd regarding the likelihood of an actual strike.” People I’ve
talked too are very angry about the Chancellor’s offer, so I would
say things are leaning towards a strike.”

Lloyd said one of the thing that angers faculty the most is that
top administrators in the CSU voted themselves an average 16
percent raise last year and an additional 4 percent this year .

“That 4 percent was just two days ago,” said Lloyd .”That’s a 21
percent increase and meanwhile they’re not offering faculty a very
good offer .They seem to be wanting to pay for this by charging the
students more so we think its mismanagement of the system.”

Some faculty are contemplating the strike and the implications
of the action.

“What were doing is preparing for a strike in the event that we
are not able to an agreement with the CSU we then may have to call
a strike , we are now talking to our faculty about that possibility
we want to make sure that they support a strike,” said John Halcon,
professor of education at Cal State San Marcos as well as the CFA
secretary and member of the bargaining team who was also at hand to
address CFA members. “If they don’t support a strike we won’t go
out .On the other hand if they do support us on significant level,
and that’s the impression that we get, then we may go out on
strike.”

The Chancellor’s Office offered the CFA a contract with a
General Salary Increase (GSI) of 27 percent over the next four
years. The CFA feels the GSI doesn’t even come close to addressing
cost of living increases. Lloyd said that the Chancellors Office
failed to mention that there is are all kinds of contingencies on
their offer and when broken down “the salary offer is much less
than they claim”. He referred to these contingencies as
“asterisks”.

The first “asterisk ” Llyod commented on was the chancellor’s
office’s intent to subtract one percentage point from the GSI and
apply it to the Step Salary Increase (SSI). Unlike the GSI the SSI
does not go to all faculty, its criterion is based on satisfactory
performance and time served .

“It doesn’t cost them a full percentage point to fund SSI.
Where’s the rest of the money going to? More administrators
probably? That’s your money ,that’s dishonest and not fair to
faculty, we need SSI.” Lloyd told the members at hand.

The Chancellor ‘s Office intends to replace the SSI with a Post
Promotion Pay (PPI) increase which is given at discretion of the
Chancellor’s Office, an option that was “not acceptable” according
to Lloyd.

The second “asterisk ” dictates that one percentage point of
each year’s GSI is contingent on additional funding the CSU
receives from the state.

“They’re past performance suggest they’re not going to be
terribly vigorous in pushing for additional funding,” said Lloyd,
recalling how last spring the state had $76 million available for
additional funding that the CSU could have received, but the
Chancellor’s Office failed to do any serious lobbying for.

The third “asterisk” Lloyd discussed, directly involves
students.

The CSU administration has increased student fees 85 percent
since 2002 , and have a 10 percent increase scheduled for next fall
, with intended additional yearly fee increase’s of the same amount
until 2011.The office’s offer requires the CFA to stay silent
regarding such proposal’s, something that Lloyd told members was
really a “gag order.”

“They have said that they have to go along with there proposal
for student fee increases and we don’t think that’s right , we
don’t think are salary proposal should be linked to the student
fees ,’said Llyod

“I think if we sign on to that , shame on us for gagging
ourselves and selling the students out .”

“I don’t want to strike, I would rather be doing my research, my
teaching, that’s what I am here for. I think there comes a point
were you have to send a message . So the idea is how do we send a
message in a way that doesn’t hurt the students,” Lloyd told the
members.

According to Lloyd the strike authorization vote will take place
in the coming weeks, but if the members vote “yes” on a strike, it
does not directly call for one.

” It’s a strike authorization vote … if (the) faculty vote
yes, the yes vote authorizes the CFA board of directors to call a
strike. It doesn’t automatically mean the there’s going to be a
strike , but it’s the first step towards a strike,” said Lloyd .”We
would try to do it in a way that minimize the impact to student
because we don’t want to hurt the students.”

Since only CFA members are eligible to vote, and according to
Lloyd approximately 50 percent of the campus faculty are members,
if a strike does take place non members will also be encouraged to
participate .

“If we go on strike we will encourage all faculty not just CFA
members to support the strike , the reason being is that we’re
fighting for a contract that pertains to all faculty,” said Lloyd
.”Faculty would be free not to take part. Obviously we in the CFA
would encourage as many faculties as possible to support the
strike.” If the CFA goes through with the strike, they have
deliberately planned it with a intricate balance that attempts to
get their point across to the Chancellor’s Office and Board of
Trustees, while at the same time not affecting students
significantly.

It’s scheduled to take place early next quarter so as not to
interfere with midterms or finals, as part of rolling walkouts
throughout all 23 CSU campus’ each on different days. It’s being
planned so that the walkouts don’t interfere with a an entire week
of a course’s class meeting. For example the possible scenario for
a walkout would be to have the strike on Monday and Tuesday or
Wednesday and Thursday.

“We do not want to hurt the students, so we’re trying to make it
at a date that would cause the least of a problem for the students
,” said Lloyd.

Local labor organizations like the Teamsters have shown
solidarity with the CFA’s cause If a strike takes place they will
not be making deliveries on campus for two days Lloyd told
members.

Most members at hand seemed to agree with a walkout, but only if
necessary.

“I support a strike if it comes to that ,”said David Speak
professor of political science.” The problem is if a system is set
up as an adversary system so that you have collective bargaining,
the trustees can take an adversarial position and if the union
doesn’t stand up for our side on the other side then it’s very
asymmetrical, very lop-sided.”

“As long as we have a collective bargaining system then its
important that the union be willing to stand up. If that takes the
strike ultimately, then that’s what we will decide” said Speak

Terry Young, professor of anthropology, is reluctant to go on a
possible strike but understands the circumstance at hand.

“I don’t want to go on strike, but sometimes it becomes
necessary,” said Young

With a strike students will be missing two days of instruction ,
which considering the short ten week quarter system the university
runs on, could be an inconvenience for some students regarding
class work.

“Faculty who are participating in the strike would be encouraged
to not put an extra burden on the students. The purpose of the
strike is not to burden the students, the purpose of the strike is
to send a message to the Chancellor,” said Lloyd, regarding how
they would be advising professors to deal with keeping up with
their respective scheduled course instruction for the quarter if
thy choose to walkout.

Although Young is concerned with his instruction schedule he
feels there’s a significant underlying aspect to this
situation.

“Hopefully we could make up the missed work in class and we
could cover the material that we would’ve covered. But I think you
have to put that in the context of the years of education that
someone has here and realize that they may not get as good of an
education over the long haul if we don’t pay the price of an hour
and a half a now.”

Students across the campus have met the news of a possible
strike with mixed reaction. While some support the CFA and their
cause, others don’t agree with a strike.

Fourth year engineering technology student Trevor Neyard had
heard of a possible strike and was concerned that in would
interfere with his attempt to graduate in the Spring quarter.

“I have heard all kinds of rumors like that they were going to
strike for the whole quarter “said Nayard

He supports the CFA if they decide to go on strike because he
understands that they’re trying to get a contract and appreciates
the effort they are doing to avoid more student fee increase’s.

‘I don’t think they’re doing this to hurt us. They’re doing this
to try to get their point across,” said Nayard, as he feels the CFA
is acting in the students best interest by not planning to strike
an entire quarter or during finals week.

Amber Thomas, a third year electrical engineering student ,
doesn’t share that same views regarding a possible strike and
believes it shouldn’t be done at the students expense.

“I think if they need a raise they shouldn’t do it at our cost,
like keeping us for going to class ,”said Thomas. ‘I don’t support
a strike completely.”

She believes the CFA shouldn’t use her learning experience as
leverage for hire wages.

“We are concerned about education as well, we’re not simply
striking for salaries. But we’re striking to preserve access to
higher education by asking the chancellor to roll back students
fees,” said Lloyd regarding students conceptions that they’re only
fighting for salaries.

Currently no future plans of action are in place beyond the
possible strike and as far resuming negations Lloyd said that it’s
simply a day by day basis.

“There are no other plans for action. We hope this is all that’s
necessary, in fact we hope that no strike is necessary . Our ideal
would be for the Chancellor to come back to the bargaining table
right now and settle this thing.”

Lloyd went on to express his hopes for the future.

“If the chancellor comes back to the bargaining table we would
be more than happy to resume negotiations.”

CFA Holds Meeting Over Decision to Strike

CFA Holds Meeting Over Decision to Strike

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