The California Faculty Association announced Monday that they would launch a coordinated, five-day strike in April if the California State University does not extend a satisfactory counter offer to their request for a 5 percent raise.
CSU faculty deserve to earn a living wage. The average weekly salary of a full-time faculty hasn’t significantly increased since 2004. In that same time period, students’ tuition more than doubled and the average weekly salary of CSU presidents increased by more than 50 percent, according to the CFA website.
The CFA and the CSU have gone back and forth over the issue of a raise since last May, but the two parties have been unable to reach an agreement, with the CFA holding fast to a 5 percent raise and the CSU sticking to its offer of a 2 percent raise. The issue is currently in the hands of a third-party fact finder, who will issue its report in late March, Golden Gate Xpress reported.
For a state that is home to four of the five most expensive housing metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to the National Association of Realtors, it’s only fair to grant the individuals who educate the majority of the state’s college students a 5 percent raise.
The CSU’s refusal to budge is unfair to the professors who are forced to move hours away from their schools in areas such as San Francisco with skyrocketing housing costs. It’s also unfair to the students, whose professors have to devote hours to commuting rather than their curriculum.
Dissatisfaction among faculty over wages has been steadily growing for years, with CFA members consistently feeling underpaid for their work. This has resulted in four strike authorization votes in the last eight years alone, but this strike will be the largest in CFA history if it is carried out.
One of the largest concerns surrounding the strike, and one of the chief arguments by the CSU, is how it will negatively affect students.
The CFA, however, maintains that the strike will not prevent students from passing classes or graduating on time.
Another pertinent question students are asking is whether or not the 5 percent faculty salary increase would force the CSU to compensate by raising tuition costs. Nevertheless, in a question and answer on the CFA’s website, they maintain that an increase would not cause any harm to students.
“The CSU has enough money to pay faculty a 5 percent raise without increasing student fees; it is a matter of priorities,” said the CFA in the question and answer page on their website. “It has become clear over the past 10 years that student fees and faculty salary are not related, as fees have gone up drastically and faculty pay has stayed flat.”
The CSU system has been undervaluing their employees for too long and it isn’t surprising that the CFA is closer to a major strike than ever before.
If California as a state and the CSU as a whole don’t reevaluate and reprioritize the way they treat and pay teachers, we’re destined to perpetuate the erosion of our education system.