A two-day strike was officially authorized last Wednesday through votes from the California State University Faculty Association (CFA), which means faculty and staff at the university system’s 23 campuses could initiate a rolling walkout, since the CFA walked out of contract negotiations on May 5, after the bargaining began on May 3.
At the bargaining table May 5, CSU officials said they would have to stop paying for the CFA president and political action committee’s leave time for business, but addressed CFA’s issues regarding extending fee waivers to dependents up to 25 years old, temporary faculty, evaluations and discipline. Union representatives decided to walk out of the negotiations.
“We are very disappointed that CFA chose to walk out and we were not able to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion,” said CSU Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Gail Brooks. “We have said all along that we want a new contract, and CSU remains willing to continue the negotiation process at any time to resolve these differences.”
There were nearly 70% of union members, about 12,501, who turned out to vote during the two-week voting period that occurred from April 16 to 27. The results showed that 95% of faculty employees voted in favor of the strike.
During the last 22 months, talks have occurred between the CSU chancellor’s office and the CFA. Union officials maintained there was pressure and demands for concessions from the faculty’s contracts and that administration would not address CFA proposals to stop the increasing class sizes on university campuses, or give a 1% pay raise to its employees.
“Today, the faculty has spoken loud and clear — we have had enough of the way in which they are being treated by the CSU administration,” Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association, said last Wednesday at a news conference. “Enough of executives putting themselves above the needs of the students, and of the public university. Enough of managers using budget cuts as an excuse to destroy the quality of students’ education.”
The next step is for a neutral party fact-finder to listen to arguments made by both sides, and eventually make a recommendation based on the arguments. The CSU will then be allowed to make another offer to the union.
If the CFA rejects the final offer, the two-day rolling strike is legally allowed to occur at all CSU campuses this fall.