California Faculty Association announces rolling strikes

Members of the California Faculty Association gather outside the J. Paul Leonard Library at SF State to hear the recent voting results on a state-wide California State University faculty strike Monday, May 2, 2012. The CFA voted 95 percent in favor of a the strike. Photo by Godofredo Vasquez.

Members of the California Faculty Association gathered today in the quad at SF State to announce that they voted to authorize a series of rolling two-day strikes across the 23 campuses of the California State University system.

By an overwhelming margin of 95 percent, more than 12,500 CFA members took part in the vote and decided to strike if negotiations with the CSU board of trustees do not result in a contract in the near future, according to Lilian Taiz, president of the CFA.

“The message to Chancellor (Charles) Reed is absolutely clear: The CSU faculty have run out of patience and it is time to address the issues before us so that our faculty can get back to the business of providing quality higher education to the students of California,” Taiz said at a press conference in Long Beach.

Faculty at SF State were impressed by the turnout for the vote, but the outcome didn’t come as a shock to Wei Ming Dariotis, president of the SF State chapter of the CFA and Asian American Studies professor.

“I’m not surprised,” she said. “This vote demonstrates how fed up everyone is. We’re gratified that so many new members came out to vote. Lots of people have been enraged by what has been coming out of the CSU office, and we think that their patronizing tone probably actually encouraged people to come out and vote.”

Faculty members said that, while they are encouraged by the large turnout, they are not taking the decision to strike lightly.

“We don’t want to strike,” said Phil Klasky, CFA member and professor of American Indian Studies at SF State. “But if the administration won’t negotiate in good faith, and continues to try and fund education on the backs of the students, then they’re forcing our hand. We want them to work with us, not against us.”

Students present at the announcement expressed concern about missing class time, but saw the strike as a necessary action.

“I’m worried about missing classes, but I totally support their cause,” said biology major Jessica Orozco. “As a student, I understand where they’re coming from. We’re all in school to find a way to make a better economic situation for ourselves, I can’t fault our professors for doing the same thing.”

Although the strike has been authorized, plans for specific locations and dates have not been released.