“United in Red: CSUSB Faculty Forge a Historic Path on the Picket Line, Advocating for Change and Chanting for a Better Tomorrow. 🚩✊ #CSUStrike2024 #FacultyUnity #RedWaveofChange”
With only four days remaining, the unfolding faculty strike across the California State University – San Bernardino (CSUSB) system is on the brink of making history as the largest professors’ strike in the United States. The ongoing labor action, spanning 23 campuses, including prominent locations such as San Bernardino, Palm Desert, Fresno, Bakersfield, Monterey County, and Turlock, marks a watershed moment in the pursuit of improved faculty pay and working conditions. The strike’s commencement during the first week of the spring term adds a layer of significance to its historical implications.
Key demands from the California Faculty Association include a 12% general salary increase, higher salary floors for the lowest-paid lecturers, reasonable class sizes, a comprehensive parental leave policy, accessible lactation spaces, gender-inclusive restrooms, and the assurance of safe interactions with campus police. Faculty members argue that these demands are indispensable for leading decent lives, addressing longstanding inequities, and maintaining the delivery of high-quality instruction to students. Jacqueline Romano, Assistant Professor in CSUSB’s Department of Teacher Education and Foundations, stressed the urgency of salary adjustments to align with the rising costs of living. The 12% general salary increase, long overdue in the eyes of faculty, underscores the gravity of their stance. The strike aims to tackle various issues, including workload, parental leave, and health and safety concerns. Jo Anna Grant, CSUSB Communication Studies professor, highlighted the need for additional mental health resources for students, pointing out the existing shortage of counselors.
As the countdown continues, activities on the CSUSB campus involve picketing at all entrances, marked by the distinctive red attire of the California Faculty Association. The daily routine includes chants, sign-waving, and information sharing, concluding each day at 6 p.m.
Negotiations between the California Faculty Association and CSU management have been fraught, with management’s imposition of a 5% non-retroactive pay raise on January 9. Faculty members deemed this offer insufficient given recent inflation. The strike serves as a strategic move to bring CSU management back to the negotiating table and secure the full 12% raise alongside equitable working conditions.
Dr. Rong Chen, CFA-San Bernardino president, emphasized the reasonableness and necessity of their proposals, pointing to the financial capacity of the university. While the strike entails inconvenience, faculty members view it as a necessary step in response to what they perceive as management’s intransigence. With students informed about the impending strike, the faculty remains hopeful that CSU management will return to negotiations in good faith, paving the way for a fair contract. As the days tick down, this historic strike is poised to leave an indelible mark on the landscape of professors’ collective actions in the U.S.