95% of CFA faculty union vote to allow potential strike at CSU

by Peyton Leone

The California Faculty Association (CFA), a union that represents faculty at the 23 California State University campuses (CSU) is in negotiations for better pay and other benefits. 95% of CFA members voted to authorize a potential strike if the CSU system does not agree to their contract terms.

CFA is fighting for a 12% raise to faculty salaries, which would cost $376 million. The CSU system offered only 5% raises which would cost $154 million. Negotiations are still ongoing.

“We wouldn’t strike right away, it might take until November but might take until next semester,” said Cal Poly Humboldt CFA Chapter President, Marisol Ruiz.

 A Oct. 31 campus email about the contract negotiations said, “If a strike does occur, the CSU’s top priority will be to ensure minimal disruptions to student learning and campus services.”

This email also provided a timeline of when a strike could happen. It could take more than a month for a stike to happen as negotiations end and an independent report is created. A ten day review period of that report and negotiations will happen which will determine if a stike will occur.

During a potential strike all library, counseling, coaching and classroom functions would stop until an agreement is reached.

“All coursework will stop, no email, writing letters of recommendations, or holding office hours,” Ruiz said.

Howard Bunsis, professor of accounting at Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business gave a presentation titled, “Financial Analysis of the California State University System.” The presentation highlighted the CSU system’s increases in state funding and tuition increases

CSU has $8 billion dollars in reserves, over $11 billion dollars in cash and investments, which Bunsis explained as money that is put into short term investments.

“These reserves have been built because they do not pay the employees what they should be paying them, it’s that simple,” Bunsis said.

“Specific classroom policy will depend on specific professors, but CFA will be united in honoring the picket line and not punishing students for the administrative failure,” Ruiz said.

Aside from pay, the CFA proposed contract would lessen workload for faculty and require CSU to hire more psychological service counselors. 

“El pueblo unido jamás será vencido [translation: the people united will never be defeated],” said Andrea Delgado, assistant professor in the English department and Social and Racial Justice representative for Cal Poly Humboldt’s CFA chapter. “I think we can make the most gains for what students need and what faculty need if we work together.” 

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