The California Faculty Association announced the dates of a system-wide faculty strike on Monday at a press conference in Sacramento.
Jennifer Eagan, the CFA president, said that the CFA board of directors determined the dates of the strike, in the event that the negotiations process fails, on the recommendation of each campus’ chapter president. The board authorized a five-day strike at all 23 California State University campuses April 13-15 and April 18-19.
“We are exerting our right to defend ourselves and our families from economic disaster,” Eagan said.
The fact-finding process of the negotiations is nearing completion, according to CFA Associate Vice President Kevin Wehr. Both sides are preparing final briefs for the fact-finding panel and they expect the official report in about six weeks.
“It’s always your last weapon, so to speak, to withhold your labor,” said Sheila Tully, SF State’s CFA chapter president. “We hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Tully said that, although her experience with CFA negotiations leads her to believe that the third-party report will favor the CFA, she believes there will still be a strike.
“When dealing with these things, we hope for the best and prepare for the worst, so we’re prepared for a strike,” she said.
Many CFA members brought attention to the fact that this is more than just an economic issue.
“It is time for faculty staff and students to stand together and say, ‘No longer,'” Wehr said. “No longer will we allow the disinvestment in instruction. No longer will we stand idly by while management rewards itself with riches but ignores the plight of the workers. No longer will we allow our students to have second best. The power is in our solidarity. We must stand up for the CSU.”
Sophomore American Indian studies major Nureldin Maslu thinks the strike could be problematic for students if not planned well, but believes that faculty are keeping students’ best interests at heart. He added that striking is necessary if it means faculty will be better compensated for their work, and said he recognizes a strong link between faculty morale and student morale.
“From what I’ve heard, (faculty) are not going to strike on days that will affect students negatively,” Maslu said. “It shows that they really care about the education they are providing students.”
The SF State CFA members are currently in the process of organizing a plan if a strike does occur. According to Tully, there will be picket lines along campus and students are encouraged to join in support. The University will decide if substitute teachers will be called in the event of a strike.
After Eagan and Wehr finished their statements at the press conference, they both said what’s become an unofficial motto for the CFA: “We don’t want to strike, but we will.”