The California Faculty Association kicked off the first day of their strike vote Wednesday as part of their Fight For Five campaign to secure a 5 percent raise.
Any California State University faculty that are members of CFA will vote to approve job actions or a full strike, said SF State’s CFA Chapter President Sheila Tully.
“We are willing to fight,” Tully said. “We don’t want to strike, we really think that our proposal is reasonable, (but) we really think the (CSU) chancellor needs to reorder his priorities.”
The vote, which will span 10 days and was announced last month, will determine whether or not CSU faculty use job actions like labor slowdowns or a full labor strike to apply pressure to CSU administrators, Tully said.
According to the CFA website, faculty will have the chance to vote online and in person.
“We have had positive response from faculty,” Tully said. “If it follows past strike votes, I think it will be a lot of online voting and some in-person voting.”
A successful strike vote would be the first step in giving faculty fairer working conditions and a more comfortable salary, said political science lecturer David Lee.
“I think students want that because you get a better environment for learning,” Lee said. “I think if we get a modest increase in salary and benefits, it’ll create a more conducive learning environment for everybody.”
Even with the looming possibility of a strike and other job actions, CSU administration remain fixed on their offer of a 2 percent general salary increase for all CSU faculty, while balancing their other goals for the CSU system, according to CSU Director of Public Affairs, Toni Molle.
“The University has a responsibility to address all mission central priorities that support student success,” Molle said. “The CSU is committed to the collective bargaining process and to reaching a negotiated settlement with the California Faculty Association.”
Though not ideal, CSU administration understands that strike authorization is a common factor in the bargaining process, but it’s something they would like to avoid, Molle said.
“A strike is not in the best interest of the students,” Molle said. “The CSU continues to value and invest in faculty and all of our employees while maintaining a balanced approach to compensation.”
Though this is an issue that only faculty will vote on, student support and solidarity is a key factor in CFA’s Fight For Five to succeed, Lee said.
“I think it’s important that the faculty aren’t alone in this fight because the faculty working conditions are inherently tied with our learning conditions,” said CSU Students for Quality Education organizer Shannon Jose. “It’s tied to the fact that we need to come together as a community, an SF State community.”
If a strike is approved, Tully said faculty could plan a series of rolling one-day strikes across the 23 CSU campuses, which would maximize their power while minimizing the number of days students would miss class.
“Speaking for myself and many faculty I’ve spoken to, in an ideal world we’d like the chancellor to realize faculty, staff and students are the heart and soul of the University,” Tully said.