As the California Faculty Association strike dates loom, SF State faculty are preparing to participate in the first-ever system-wide strike at the California State University, and students are wondering how this affects them and what campus services will still be available.
“They just made the announcement and that was it,” said Brittany Barrios, a first-year nursing student.
The University will remain open during the strike. Student services on campus, such as food vendors and maintenance, will also be continuing per usual as well as campus activities.
Vice President of Student Affairs Luoluo Hong sent out an email Tuesday to students regarding the strike.
“Our campus will remain open during the strike, and students should be able to access all non-instructional programs and services without interruption, including any planned campus-wide activities and events,” Hong said in the email. “Academic ceremonies such as honors convocation or other events related to graduation should continue as planned.”
Official dates for the strike will affect all 23 CSU campuses Wednesday, April 13 through Friday, April 15 and April 18-19.
CSU faculty members will be picketing for a 5 percent pay increase. The CSU has agreed to give faculty a 2 percent increase, but the CFA continues to insist that a 2 percent raise is not enough. The CSU has until midnight April 12, the night before the strike, to concede, according to the CFA website.
“It’s about the priorities of the CSU,” said SF State CFA Chapter President Sheila Tully. “When you put faculty last, you also put the students last. The faculty and students go hand in hand. I don’t want to strike. I do want to settle, but I will fight because the stakes are so high.”
When asked, Tully did not have a number for faculty members participating in the strike.
“We have a lot of support,” she said.
Although CFA members plan to picket and rally, students are neither encouraged or discouraged to picket to support their instructors.
“The University fully respects the free speech rights of our students, staff, and faculty,” Hong’s email read. “You are not obligated to support either the CFA’s position or the CSU administration’s side regarding the strike. You cannot be compelled to walk out of class, walk picket lines or otherwise support the strike as part of a class assignment, for extra credit, or in exchange for a grade.”
“I have classes that are cancelled,“ said Keith Donnell, an SF State graduate student. “Any class that’s not being held I’m not going to go to.”
The services rendered on campus by staffed employees (as opposed to faculty) will remain open. The library on campus will remain open as well as all of the maintenance and services available for students. The food locations will also remain open to continue to make sure that the students at SF State are not negatively affected by the strike.
Marco Ballesteros, owner of Taqueria La Girasol in the Cesar Chavez Center, explains that he supports the faculty strike but the taqueria will remain open during the strike, “we will be open regular hours because the kids still need to eat,” Ballesteros said. “I hope they get what they want … they need it, they do.”
University Librarian Deborah Masters declined to comment on the status of library faculty members who will or will not be participating in the strike, but Mira Foster, a librarian at the J. Paul Leonard library, said librarians would be striking as well.
“We are (all) faculty and we will be on strike,” Foster said.
The only services that will be affected are classes taught by instructors participating in the strike. Some professors and lecturers will cancel class, while others will have alternatives for students, depending on the faculty member.
The average salary of a CSU faculty member is $46,000 per year, while tenured faculty members of the CSU average $85,000 according to the California Faculty Association. 60 percent of faculty members are temporary faculty, making an average of $28,000 annually.
The CFA and supporters are fighting for a 5 percent salary raise, which would cost the university $69 million. Funds that were originally allocated for the raise are now to fund increasing enrollment rates, graduation rates, and hiring more faculty.
Members of the CFA voted 94.4 percent approval in October 2015 to strike. The CFA’s “Fight for Five” will be the biggest strike in higher education history, according to their website.