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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

All you need to know about the CFA strike

GGX answers your questions on how to navigate the upcoming strike
Jonah Chambliss
Graphic containing photos from the Oct. 26, 2023 CFA rally in the SFSU Quad. (Graphic by Jonah Chambliss and Photos by Feven Mamo/ Golden Gate Xpress)

In these last couple of weeks of the semester, a lingering feeling of the unknown is in the air due to the California Faculty Association strike happening state-wide. Golden Gate Xpress put together a Q&A on how to navigate these final weeks of classes.

GGX: What is the California Faculty Association and how did we get here?

The CFA is the union that represents “29,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches who teach and provide services to the California State University system’s 485,000 students,” according to their website. The CSU system is composed of 23 campuses all around California.

The CFA and CSU have been in negotiations for a new contract since the summer of 2023. There are five different articles that the parties do not agree on, with the most pressing being Article 31 – Salary.

“CFA is asking for a lifeline to our exploited, underpaid lecturer faculty. And it’s asking for the pay of all faculty to keep pace with inflation. We’re not even asking for a raise because a raise would be more than 12%. Because 12% just gets us to where we were when we started our last contract,” Brad Erickson, CFA-SFSU chapter president.

CSU’s counteroffer was a 5% adjustment.

GGX: Who is exactly striking?

Faculty, including professors and lecturer faculty; librarians; counselors; and coaches.

GGX: Will this affect students’ grades and classes?

The fall 2023 semester is most likely to not be impacted since the strike will only last for one day this semester. “A strike should not affect students’ ability to complete courses and earn full academic credit,” according to Kent Bravo, SFSU Media Relations Specialist.

However, it is still unclear what is going to happen in the Spring 2024 semester if both parties do not agree on a new contract until then.

“This coming week, we’re still going on strike. And if that doesn’t bring management to the table with considerable movement towards our proposals, we are prepared to call for longer systemwide strikes in the spring,” Erickson said.

GGX: What is the duration of the strike?

CFA is striking for four days starting on Monday, Dec. 4. Union members voted to go on strike on Oct. 30.

The union decided to start with one-day-long rolling strikes on four of the 23 CSU campuses – California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, San Francisco State University, California State University, Los Angeles and Sacramento State University.

“We haven’t been on strike in 10 years. In fact, in the history of the CFA, in the last 40 years, there have been two days of strikes,” Erickson said. “So next week, we’re going to double what we’ve ever done as a union, striking for four days.”


Dates of the CFA rolling strike that starts on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. Four of the 23 CSU campuses will participate in the strike. (Graphic by Leticia Luna/Golden Gate Xpress)

Erickson said that union members in the four campuses that are participating in this fall strike were ready to do so. Meanwhile, others preferred to wait until the spring.

“This is about building power and building capacity,” said Erickson. “We’re fired up, we don’t want to lose energy. So let us lead the way. Let us lead by having a short-term, rolling strike just to build energy to see where we are, right.”

GGX: What services will be open on campus?

Yes, the SFSU campus should be fully operational, according to Bravo. He added that “the library will be open for students who need study spaces and/or Wi-Fi; other library services may be reduced or not available.”

Hazel Kelly, manager of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs of CSU Chancellor’s Office, said that “all CSU campuses will be open and operational (e.g., library, food court, student union, advising offices or resource centers).”

Both affirmed that in case of change in hours, services or scheduled events students will receive communication via campus websites, email or social media accounts.

GGX: What is crossing the picket line?

There are different ways that you can cross the picket line. For example, going online on Canvas, emailing professors and physically crossing the picket line to get into campus.

Erickson said that the union members that will be in the picket line will not physically impede anyone from crossing the demonstration, and hopes that the community will join them.

“We won’t block their way. But we will also remember, we will remember who crossed the picket line and academics have long memories,” said Erickson.

CSU emphasizes that individuals who are striking/picketing may not block or otherwise obstruct the ability of students to access the campus, including classrooms, other facilities and buildings, or campus services, according to Kelly.

“If anyone is uncomfortable crossing a picket line, they should access campus via an alternative entrance or discuss concerns with their supervisor,” Bravo says.

GGX: Where are the strikers going to be on Tuesday?

CFA intends to protest from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in four different strike spots at SFSU, with an additional one by Lake Merced Boulevard. The additional location will be a “quiet picket” according to Erickson.

“There’ll also be folding chairs and things for people who have mobility limitations. So this is kind of, a quiet space, but they’ll be visible to anyone driving by and that’s part of it,” said Erickson. “The other four are really at major entrance points to the campus and they will be there and visible and audible. They will be chanting and singing.”

The union has members signed to be in the locations and intends to march in protest around campus starting at 11 a.m., culminating with a rally on 19th and Holloway at noon.

A map showing the five locations CFA Union members will hold picket lines at SFSU on Dec. 04, 2023. (Graphic by Jonah Chambliss/Golden Gate Xpress)

GGX: How can students and non-faculty employees support the strike?

For those who want to support CFA, the best thing to do is to join them at the picket line, according to Erickson. “Be physically present. We need bodies on the picket line, we need to show – demonstrate our power,” Erickson said.

Erickson said that multiple students, staff, faculty and people from other campuses are going to participate in the Tuesday strike.

“We know it’s going to be significant,” Erickson said. “We want to say one thing, don’t cross the picket line. So, don’t work if you’re a faculty member, don’t work. But if you’re a student, or you know, some other member of the campus community, to the extent that you can come and join us.”

GGX: What does SFSU/CSU recommend students to do during the strike?

CSU recommends that students should maintain their routine normally. Bravo added that students should not assume that all classes will be canceled.

“Not all faculty will strike,” said Bravo. “Students should contact their professors directly for information about changes to scheduled classes.”

GGX: What does SFSU/CSU recommend non-faculty employees to do during the strike?

CSU recommends that, just like students, employees should maintain their work schedules as normal.

Kelly said that the university understands that “some employees may choose to join picket lines in support during non-work time.”

SFSU expects non-faculty employees “to continue to come to work and to perform their job duties at their regular work time,” said Bravo.

Kelly wrote in an email that “no represented employee is obligated to strike. Unions are legally prohibited from threatening or coercing members to do so.” She added “The university fully respects the free speech rights of our students, staff, and faculty. Retaliation from any member of the campus community for one’s personal position regarding the labor dispute is inappropriate and unlawful and should be reported to the campus Title IX coordinator.”

Additional coverage of the faculty strike here

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About the Contributors
Leticia Luna, Editor-In-Chief
Letícia Luna (she/her) is the Editor-in-Chief for Golden Gate Xpress. Leti has been pursuing a career in journalism since her time at Laney College, where she was editor-in-chief of the college's student publication The Citizen. Connecting to people and giving them voices is what brought her to journalism. Letícia was an audience intern at the San Francisco Chronicle during summer 2022 before transferring to SF State. In her spare time, Leti can be found exploring the outdoors and hanging out with her friends.
Sophia Osborn, Engagement and Online Editor
Sophia Osborn (she/her) is the Engagement and Online editor for Golden Gate Xpress. She is majoring in journalism and minoring in English literature. Sophia has always loved keeping up with the news and reading whatever she can. Coming from sunny San Diego, she graduated from Carlsbad High School, where she wrote and was an editor for the school paper, the Lancer Link. This is her second semester on staff and she is extremely excited about what the future holds in store for her. In her downtime, Sophia can be found hanging out with friends, reading, writing, or playing Mario Kart with her friends.
Jonah Chambliss, Staff Reporter
Jonah Chambliss (he/him) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in sociology. He was born and raised in Oakland, California. He lives in San Francisco, California, while working full-time and attending San Francisco State University. He previously contributed to The Cabrillo Voice, the student newspaper of Cabrillo Community College in Aptos, California. He served as a staff reporter for Golden GateXpress last semester, covering arts and entertainment, and will cover student life and club events this spring. During his free time, Jonah is an avid cyclist, motorcycle rider, and mechanic. Jonah is also a huge fan of Bay Area sports, specifically the Oakland Athletics and Golden State Warriors.

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