Just months after members of the California Faculty Association (CFA) decided to authorize a strike at all 23 campuses of the Long Beach-based California State University (CSU) system, the CFA today announced its plans to carry out a five-day strike in April, if a deal is not reached before then.
“We’ve said all along that we don’t want to strike, but we will if we have to,” said Jennifer Eagan, president of the California Faculty Association. “We must take a stand so that we can support our families, protect our profession and provide high quality education for our students.”
The union said they will strike April 13, 14, 15, 18 and 19 at all 23 campuses if negotiations continue to be at a stalemate. As previously reported, the two bodies are in state-mandated mediation over salary arrangements for 2015-2016, and the Chancellor’s Office has rejected a five percent General Salary Increase (GSI) and 2.65 Service Salary Increase (SSI) for eligible faculty. The faculty rejected a two percent salary increase offered by the CSU Chancellor’s Office last October.
The CSU emphasized that negotiations have not ended, and noted that a strike could not occur unless all mediation was finished.
“The California State University remains committed to reaching a resolution. Campuses are preparing for the possibility of a strike,” said a statement released by the CSU. “[…] The strike should not interfere with students being able to complete their semester and quarter courses and graduate on time.”
Cal State Long Beach professor and CFA chapter president Douglas Domingo-Forasté put the chances of a strike at a little over 50 percent, “Just because we’ve seen such intransigence,” he said.
“They have a certain vision of a Wal-Mart-like university operation—lots of low-paid employees with low morale…it doesn’t matter what we do with the students,” said Forasté. “They’re only interested in graduation rates—not for the students’ sake, but for their own sake.”
According to CSU officials, a five percent increase in pay for CFA faculty would cost $68.9 million over the two percent the university is offering. Additionally, they said the cost to the university could balloon to $107.2 million if other unions asked for the same increase.
City News Service contributed to this report.