By Jordan Mitchell |Staff Writer|
California State University professors take a step closer to calling a strike in the 2016 Spring quarter as a continued attempt to raise faculty earnings by five percent.
The California Faculty Association (CFA) gathered on the Cal State Los Angeles campus on Jan. 19 to address their ongoing efforts and negotiations with CSU Chancellor, Timothy P. White.
As of 2014, more than 50 percent of all CSU faculty members made less than $38,000 a year, according to the CFA.
“CFA members here along with 26,000 other faculty in the CSU association are fighting for five, meaning a five percent general salary increase for all faculty,” said CFA communication specialist Niesha Gates.
On top of the five percent general salary raise, the CFA is also asking for an additional 2.65 percent service salary increase.
The service salary increase (SSI) would provide an additional raise to eligible faculty members who have provided quality service in their position for a specific length of time.
According to CFA President Jennifer Eagan, the current salary given to CSU faculty members has proven to be insufficient for the increasing cost of living.
“We’ve shown that faculty salaries are uniquely stagnant compared to other educators and public employees and we have shown how this effects faculty families, our families. We have told our stories through the numbers and through the living experience of faculty members struggling to pay bills and send their own kids to college,” said Eagan
It seems that everyone understands where we’re coming from, except for the leadership of the CSU, Chancellor White and the board of trustees,” added Eagan.
Recently, Chancellor White approved a 2 percent increase for all CSU faculty, but CFA members are not satisfied.
“Actions speak louder than words and if the faculty needs to go on strike, we will set an example for our students,” said Eagan.
News of the strike has some CSU students worried about classes being cancelled and missing their potential graduation dates.
“It might push our assignments back, but I hope it doesn’t push our entire quarter back because I know there are many seniors, just like myself, needing to get their units to graduate on time,” said student Hazel Ceron.
While students are concerned about their classes, Eagan assured the strike would not harm them in any way.
“The strike actions that the faculty may take won’t hurt students, but a faculty who would sit by quietly while the whole CSU system devalues instruction, disrespects faculty and shifts the cost of this public good on to the shoulders of students and their families would hurt students,” said Eagan.
In 2015, after CSU faculty members voted in favor of the strike, White met with CSUSB faculty and staff.
“I acknowledge and value the work our faculty does every day but we have to live within our means,” said White.
White became Chancellor of the CSU system in May of 2013 and openly acknowledged more work needs to be done.
“All I can ask is to look at what I’ve done since I’ve been here. Is it enough? No. But we’ll get there,” said White.