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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

CSU faculty union votes in 95% approval of strike authorization

California Faculty Association members choose to strike if negotiations with CSU are not reached
Kayla Williams
Mark Allen Davis, associate professor in the African Studies department and racial and social justice representative for the California Faculty Association, speaks to protesters on a CFA walk-out on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (Kayla Williams / Contributor Golden Gate Xpress)

The California Faculty Association (CFA) has voted to authorize a strike if the negotiations with California State University remain at an impasse. According to Charles Toombs, the president of CFA, 95% of CFA members who cast a vote, voted in favor of a strike authorization.

The type and duration of the strike have yet to be determined. CFA members will continue to work with CSU management on the next steps during the bargaining process.

“We will strike at a time when it advances our (CFA) cause – many decisions need to be made before then,” said CFA Chair of Bargaining, Kevin Wehr. 

The CFA Bargaining Team, Contract Development and Bargaining Strategy Committee have been in negotiations with CSU management since June 27 to discuss articles and terms to the CFA union’s existing contract.

 “I think it’s a vindication that the vast majority of the voting members strongly support everything that makes up a welcoming and inclusive place for students,” said Brad Erickson, president of the SFSU chapter of the CFA union. 

According to the CFA union, about 7,300 CFA union members voted this spring to re-open bargaining on Articles, 20, 23, 31 and 37 of the CFA union’s contract.

 The CFA union filed an impasse to the public employment relations board on Aug. 9 due to the lack of alignment between CSU management and the CFA bargaining team. 

“CSU management was non-compliant which led to the impasse,” Mark Allen Davis, Racial and Social Justice representative for the CFA Council on Social and Racial Justice representative for CFA & Contract Development and Bargaining Strategies Committee Member. “We (CFA) had made a decision – the decision to hold fast to our demands and never let up,” Davis said.

Protester holds a sign saying “you can’t put students first if you put faculty last” in support of the CSU faculty at the CFA walk-out at SFSU on Oct. 26, 2023. (Kayla Williams / Contributor Golden Gate Xpress)

The contract bargaining is now in the fact-finding report step. The report, done by a third party, will assess and fact-check both sides of negotiations and come up with a final analysis. The fact-finding process is part of the statutory process outlined in legislation that governs unions and management in higher education for the state of California. 

“Findings from the report are required prior to faculty moving forward with a strike. The fact-finding report is estimated to be public in the coming weeks,” said Wehr. 

According to the Manager of Strategic Communications & Public Affairs at the CSU Chancellor’s Office, Hazel J. Kelly, the CFA strike vote authorization was not unexpected. 

“The approval of the strike vote gives CFA’s leadership the authority to initiate a strike or other concerted activities in the event that the parties do not reach an agreement at the conclusion of the statutory impasse procedure, but does not guarantee CFA members will go on strike,” Kelly said. “The CSU remains committed to the collective bargaining process and reaching a negotiated agreement with the CFA as we have done with five of our other employee unions in recent weeks.”

According to an email sent to faculty members, the union affirms that 95% of faculty members demand “a pay raise that keeps ahead of inflation, pay equity and raising the floor for our lowest-paid faculty, manageable workloads that allow for more support and engagement with students, more counselors to improve students’ much-needed access to mental health counseling, expanding paid parental leave, accessible lactation and milk storage spaces for lactating faculty, safe gender-inclusive restrooms and changing rooms, safety provisions for faculty interacting with university police on our campuses.” 

Davis sees the strike authorizations as a “clarion call to not only the CSU management but also to any others out there struggling to receive a living wage.”

According to the CFA, the CFA bargaining team has made multiple attempts to align with CSU management; but they were unsuccessful.

The CFA includes all faculty members, counselors, coaches and librarians across all 23 California State Universities.

“I’m really proud of the faculty. We received a lot of support from the faculty and union members which led to the success of the vote,” Wehr said.

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About the Contributor
Zac Zavala
Zac Zavala, Staff Reporter
Zac Zavala (he/him) is a Bay Area resident who transferred from The Los Angeles Film School as a creative producing major. Originally from Southern California, Zac switched to journalism with a minor in history once he landed at SF State. Zac has vast experience working in the entertainment industry in film and television. Zac is also part of the production team for the Academy Awards and a former Walt Disney Imagineer. Zac is striving to be a groundbreaking producer and multimedia journalist. In his free time, Zac travels to different parts of the world for inspiration and is a runner.

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