If you have frequented campus within the past month, you may have heard about a possible upcoming strike on behalf of the California Faculty Association regarding demands for better wages and benefits, and a better allocation of funds by CSU management. You may have even seen the October 19th gathering on campus. The terms regarding the possible strike have been made clear by the CFA.
According to the CFA’s statement, their demands call for:
- A pay raise that stays ahead of inflation.
- Pay equity and raising the floor for our lowest-paid faculty.
- Manageable workloads that allow for more support and engagement with students.
- More counselors to improve students’ much-needed access to mental health counseling.
- Expanding paid parental leave.
- Accessible lactation and milk storage spaces for lactating faculty.
- Safe gender-inclusive restrooms and changing rooms.
- Safety provisions for faculty interacting with university police on our campuses.
On October 30th, 2023, nearly 95% of CFA members voted in support of authorizing a strike. To be clearer, this does not mean a strike is completely imminent, but rather a strike would be called only if the conditions of the demand are not met by the time the collective bargaining agreement is to be renewed. Many of the murmurs among students on campus include a variety of opinions on the issue. Some fully support the CFA and their endeavors, whereas others may have questions regarding how the strike may affect their academic progress.
The strike would technically mean a stoppage of all work in all courses, athletics, and any other areas in which members of CFA are involved. This may include stopping classes altogether for as long as the strike continues and abstaining from any work-related activities for the duration of the strike by members of the CFA. This could last for any amount of time, ranging from a few days to more prolonged periods of time. As students on campus, it is easy to find yourself concerned about how this may affect your academic career. It is important to note that conditions stated by the CFA also would positively impact the students on all CSU campuses and increase funding to student resources, including mental health resources.
Although stated otherwise by CSU management, CFA’s fiscal analytics finds that CSU management can well afford to meet all the re-opener proposals stated in the demands. The California Faculty Association claims on their website that “the CSU has been hoarding billions of dollars in reserves instead of investing in faculty and staff who work directly with our students”. They also claim that investments in administrative personnel increases rather than their investments in instructional support, which they also claim is shrinking.
“When our re-opener bargaining campaign began on May 1st – International Workers’ Day – we asserted that faculty working conditions are student learning conditions. Our aspirational contract demands insist that our students deserve better, that our faculty deserve better” states Vang Vang, a CFA treasurer and Fresno Librarian. It is evident that the CFA does not wish to call a strike in order for these conditions, which benefit both faculty and students, to be met out of desperation. They do state that they will call this strike if necessary. “Our members’ vision for the CSU and students is aspirational – that’s why members continue to receive encouragement and support from students, many of whom have joined our campus rallies. Our proposals are reasonable, achievable, and necessary to build a better, safer, accessible, more just CSU.” Most students on campus do seem to support. In order to gauge opinion on this, I have created an easy poll for students to take and to view the results below. Feel free to complete and share if possible, it is only a few questions long and opens perspective regarding this situation.
NOTE: This is a safe and secure third party website, and answers will be anonymous: https://qxytemu62.supersurvey.com
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