The California Faculty Association (CFA) strike authorization vote began Monday, Oct. 19.
The vote was held on California State University (CSU) campuses last week and will continue online until Oct. 28.
Professor Leslie Bryan, CFA Associate Vice President-Lecturers, explained that the vote is a cautionary measure in case CSU management chooses to impose a final offer of a two percent General Salary Increase (GSI).
Faculty cannot strike without membership agreement.
“The best way to not go on strike is to prepare for a strike and let the chancellor’s office know that we are ready to stand up and fight for what we think is fair,” Bryan said. “Five percent is fair.”
Dr. Marcia Marx, CSU San Bernardino Chapter President, explained that there is a ten day period after the fact-finding reports are reviewed in which both the CFA and CSU management can come to an agreement.
“I voted yes for strike authorization because I feel as if I have no other alternative,” stated Dr. Tiffany Jones, Associate Professor of African History at CSUSB.
“Unfortunately the CSU administration refuses to even discuss our request for five percent, and I want them to know that I believe that students deserve quality educators and we deserve fair wages,” Jones continued.
“The few percentage increase we received last year wasn’t enough to help correct this unfair situation. Many of us of having difficulty making ends meet, taking on second jobs, cutting back on childcare or taking on more debt, which means we have less time to spend with our students and in turn students’ education suffers,” added Jones.
Toni Molle, CSU Director of Public Affairs, gave an opposing view to Bryan and Jones.
“I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. CSU’s proposal for faculty is two percent. Total proposal $32.8 million. CFA’s proposal is five percent. General Salary Increase totaling $82 million. Plus a 1.2 percent Service Salary Increase costing $19.7 million. Total proposal $101.7 million. The gap is $68.9 million but when you add in ‘me too’ clauses for other bargaining groups ($39.1 million) that gap grows to $108 million,” stated Molle.
Molle stated that the university has a responsibility to address a number of priorities deemed as “mission central.”
Employee compensation, according to Molle, is among them.
Molle stated, “compensation remains a top priority. That’s why faculty were the only group of employees to receive salary increases and tenure-track salary promotions during the recession years. Over the last two years alone, CSU has invested $129.6 million in compensation with $65.5 million dollars of that going to faculty.”
Joe Gutierrez, Assistant Director and Communications Coordinator at CSUSB, said that President Dr. Tomas Morales was unavailable for comment on the vote.