By Gregory Jouvenat
The California Faculty Association announced its plans on Feb. 8 to strike during a potential five-day period.
The CFA anticipates that it will strike for five consecutive days in mid-April if the California State University Office of the Chancellor refuses to meet the CFA’s demands for a wage increase of 5 percent. The strike is currently scheduled for April 13-19, and it will take place on all 23 CSU campuses.
According to Paivi Hoikkala, a lecturer at Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of History and a CFA member, classes will be unavailable throughout the duration of the strike. Other services, such as trash pickup and mail deliveries, will also be unavailable due to the strike sanctions and support of other unions.
“I’m preparing for my spring classes, and I am anticipating that we will go on strike,” said Hoikkala. “So I’m preparing my syllabus so that the students will get enough material, and they will have alternatives to do the work. The only difference is that the faculty will not be in the classroom, and we will not be answering e-mails. It’s a little bit of an inconvenience, but I don’t think it will have a huge impact on the students beyond that.”
The CFA and the CSU Office of the Chancellor have been negotiating a wage increase since last June. The CFA bargaining team asked for a 5 percent raise and a 2.65 percent step increase to those who are eligible, while the CSU Office of the Chancellor offered a 2 percent raise.
“I haven’t received a step increase since 2007,” said Dorothy Wills, a professor at CPP’s Department of Geography and Anthropology and CPP’s CFA chapter president. “All the other public employees have gotten them, even during the recession and even on years that we were furloughing. We had a furlough year in which we lost 10 percent of our pay. Not only did we not get any of that back, but we still didn’t get any step increases, let alone a general raise. So the chancellor offers 2 percent, and since we’ve lost so much in purchasing power over these past ten years, it’s not going to really help ” It’s not enough.”
Both parties declared an impasse last August and then entered a fact-finding stage in which the CSU and the CFA stated their cases to a neutral third party. The fact-finding stage has since ended, and now both sides are waiting for the panel to draft a report on how to proceed.
Once the report is completed there will be a ten-day blackout period. After that time, Chancellor Timothy White will make his last, best offer to the CFA. The CFA will be legally allowed to strike if it is still in disagreement with the CSU’s last offer.
“We’ve told the CSU management 2 percent is woefully inadequate, and we think that 5 percent is a minimally decent increase for faculty who went for a long time during the recession with no salary increases,” said Jennifer Eagan, president of the CFA.
The CFA is a union that represents over 25,000 members across the 23 CSU campuses. In 1983, the CFA won an election to be the sole bargaining agent for its members.
“The California Faculty Association has announced dates for a potential strike in April,” said the CSU Office of the Chancellor in an official statement. “The collective bargaining process continues, and a strike cannot be conducted until the end of the process. The California State University remains committed to reaching a resolution. Campuses are preparing for the possibility of a strike. If a strike occurs, campuses intend to remain open. Many classes will be offered, and students should check with their instructors regarding the status of their classes. The strike should not interfere with students being able to complete their semester and quarter courses and graduate on time”
Gregory Jouvenat / The Poly Post
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