Volume 16 Issue 3
By Dina Martin
NEA Director Golda Bloom and her colleague Lucia Volk carry a banner at the noontime picket line at San Francisco State University.
Following an overwhelming vote by faculty, leadership of the California Faculty Association (CFA) took a historic step to hold a one-day strike Nov. 17 on two campuses — CSU East Bay and CSU Dominguez Hills — in order to send a strong message to Chancellor Charles Reed regarding his priorities.
Faculty members are angered by the chancellor’s rejection of a second neutral fact-finder’s recommendations that faculty be paid part of the salary increases negotiated in their 2008-09 and 2009-10 contract. CFA believes Reed’s action, his relentless push for hikes in student fees, and his lavish giveaways to executives hurt students, faculty, and the CSU itself, and should not go unchallenged.
“Our faculty has had enough. They are angry, frustrated and fed up,” says Jennifer Egan, a professor at CSU East Bay. “Our workload has been increasing, but what this means for students is their classes are getting bigger or aren’t even offered, and they have less access to faculty, so they are not getting instruction they deserve. All the while, their fees are going up.”
Leading up to the strike was a week of picket lines on individual CSU campuses statewide by faculty and their supporters, including CTA.
“The California Teachers Association stands solidly behind California Faculty Association’s action to participate in a one-day strike on Nov. 17, as well as its concerted actions leading up to the strike,” says CTA President Dean E. Vogel.
“It is not right that tuition at CSU campuses has risen 23 percent in the past year while students are unable to get into classes and are forced to take five or more years to graduate. It is not right for the faculty to go without its modest, bargained pay increases while the number of CSU executives and their pay continue to increase. In taking this action to strike for a day, the faculty within the California State University system is standing up for their students and standing up for their profession.”
CFA Vice President Kim Geron, a political science professor at CSU East Bay, says faculty are willing to accept a modest but fair salary increase. “We feel like our faculty has fallen far behind. Faculty salaries have not kept up with inflation for a decade. What we want is equity and fairness for all faculty.”
Although the Educator had gone to press before the Nov. 17 strike, that action may only be the beginning of a longer battle.
According to CFA President Lillian Taiz, “We hope this carefully targeted strike, which symbolizes both our anger and our commitment to fairness, will lead to changes in his priorities and his positions. If it does not, the CFA leadership — and the CSU faculty we represent — are prepared to escalate our efforts.”
For updated information on the cfa strike, visit www.calfac.org.