The California Faculty Association is on the verge of a system–wide strike for a 5 percent salary raise for all CSU faculty members.
Currently the CFA and the CSU are in the fact-finding process, which is when a neutral third party receives a written brief from both sides and writes a report that will essentially become the final verdict. The report is due late March, and if it doesn’t meet the CFA’s expectations, then union members are allowed to go on a strike.
“I think the faculty has spoken and we’re very willing to have a strike,” said Jennifer Eagan, CFA associate vice president. “We have strong suspicions that the fact finders report will find mostly in our favor, if not entirely in our favor. We’re pretty confident that our version of the facts are the better one.”
The issue of a raise was reopened May 1, followed by a bargaining period that began in July. The two parties had three meetings, and then negotiations broke off. The CFA was offered a 2 percent raise but turned down the offer with the goal of a 5 percent raise.
CSU faculty is attempting to bring attention to the situation by asking all students and faculty to wear red during the first week of school as a part of their “seeing red” campaign.
“We’re hoping a variety of tactics and pressures on a variety of campuses will push the chancellor to settle,” said Sheila Tully, SF State’s CFA chapter president.
The biggest reason why faculty feel like they deserve a pay raise, according to Eagan, is because the economy is doing much better than it has in the past. During the recession, the CSU faculty took a furlough that equalled a 10 percent pay cut and many feel like that was never recovered, Eagan said.
CFA union members have received a total of 2.94 percent in raises since the budget crisis in 2008, according to CFA reports. Many faculty members believe now is the time they will have a better outcome due to their increase in support, Tully said.
“I think some of the state legislatures have really expressed strong support for state faculty,” Tully said.
If a strike does ensue, students won’t have class on those days. There will be picket lines on campus, and faculty are encouraging students to join them in support.
This lack of pay affects the students much more than possibly having a few days off from school, especially at SF State. According to a Business Insider report, San Francisco has become the most expensive city in the country, and because of that many faculty members have resorted to living farther from campus, Xpress previously reported. This decreases the amount of time faculty are able to spend at school helping students.
“A strike is not in the best interest of CSU students,” said CSU Director of Public Affairs Toni Molle. “The CSU is committed to serving our students, and will take the appropriate steps to sustain quality education programs that allows students to stay on the path to degree completion.”
As of right now, the CFA union is patiently waiting until the fact finder’s report is released. Until then all they can do is bring attention to the issue and prepare for a possible strike.
This is the first time the CFA has negotiated with CSU Chancellor Timothy White, who has held the position since 2012.