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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

Bay Area CSUs gear up for strike

Cal State East Bay, Sonoma State and San Francisco State Universities kick off CFA strike in Bay Area
Dan Hernandez/Golden Gate Xpress
David Steel (right), a CFA field representative chants through a mega horn on the picket line on the CSU East Bay campus in Hayward, Calif. on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024.

California State University faculty members officially embarked on a systemwide strike on Monday, Jan. 22, including demonstrations at Cal State East Bay and San Francisco State University. 

The California Faculty Association plans to strike Jan. 22-26 across all 23 CSU campuses, with SFSU faculty expected to picket from Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. 

The five-day strike resulted after CSU management walked out of bargaining negotiations with the CFA for higher salaries. The CFA proposed a 12% general salary increase, which the CSU rejected to instead pass a five percent increase, which will go into effect on Jan 31.

Faculty at Sonoma State University, California State East Bay, and San Jose State University will engage in picketing. California State East Bay is scheduled to picket on Monday, while Sonoma State faculty will picket on campus from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday. San Jose State University will conduct picketing on Wednesday.

On Jan. 19, Teamsters Local 2010 –– the union representing trade workers ––  reached a tentative agreement with the CSU to increase pay by 5% with immediate effect. Due to this agreement, Teamsters will no longer be picketing on Thursday and Friday as planned.

“We had hoped to reach a settlement and not come to a strike… we wish they took our demands more seriously, ” said Scott Horstein, Vice President of Sonoma State’s CFA executive board. “If every single one of our demands was met, it would cost $800 million. That’s less [$1 billion] than what the CSU is going to add to their investment portfolio this year alone.”

A strike volunteer marches with their dog at the picket line on W. Loop Road. on the CSU East Bay campus in Hayward on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. (Dan Hernandez / Golden Gate Xpress)

According to Horstein, the demands of the CFA reflect the standards of other universities around the country and are meant to benefit students alongside faculty. On top of a higher salary, their demands included a proper ratio of mental health counselors to students and gender-neutral bathrooms.

Sonoma State faculty will be picketing on campus from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday. 

“The picket line is a powerful but peaceful protest,” Horstein said. “People should expect to see a sea of people wearing CFA red. They should expect a fun place, we’re going to have music, dances and performances. We’re preparing right now by having conversations about when they can picket, knowing their rights and building solidarity.”

Brad Erickson, SFSU’s CFA Chapter president, described the CSU’s contract negotiations as “abominable and laughable.”

“The impartial expert [factfinder] concluded that anything less than a 10% raise would be a pay cut because the cost of living has gone up so much since our last contract [3 years ago],” Erickson said. “When we ask for 12%, that’s at most a two percent raise and depending on the rate of inflation for this year, maybe not a raise at all.”

Najeeb Khoury, the factfinder, recommended a 7% salary increase in a report, considering  the CSU’s budget.

SFSU plans to send CFA brigades to East Bay on Monday, Sonoma State on Tuesday and San Jose State on Wednesday, according to Erickson. On Thursday and Friday, SFSU will hold a rally at 11 a.m. at 19th and Holloway, this program will include speakers and entertainment from around the Bay Area who come in solidarity to support the strike effort. 

“We are thrilled and delighted that our sibling union members and fellow CSU faculty are joining us,” Horstein said. “It’s what this is all about. This is not just one campus or department, it’s the whole system and we’re so excited to be on the picket line with them.”

CSU East Bay’s CFA Chapter was unavailable for comments surrounding their plans for the strike week. According to their website, the campus will be fully open during strike week, as student services will remain open. In-person classes are set to go forward unless canceled by an instructor. 

Valerie Francisco-Menchavez, CFA member and faculty lecturer at SFSU, has been coordinating the rally on Thursday and Friday. On both days and throughout the week, the picket will be about mobilizing faculty, as well as having speakers represent students and faculty at the University. 

Tenure-track, lecturer and union faculty ––alongside students –– will speak at Thursday’s rally, while coalition members from Jobs of Justice and Filipino Community Center will speak at Friday’s rally, according to Francisco-Menchavez. 

“You can think of it as Thursday being leaders on our campus and Friday [as] folks in the community coming to join us,” Francisco-Menchavez said.

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About the Contributor
Jason Hernandez, A&E Editor
Jason Hernandez(he/him) is the arts and entertainment editor for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in education. He's lived in the Bay Area his whole life and currently lives near South San Francisco. During his free time, Jason enjoys watching sports, playing pool and thrift shopping. Once he graduates, he'd one day like to work for Vice News.

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