Faculty members throughout California will be voting on whether to move forward with what is presumed to be the largest strike in the history of California and possibly the nation.
Voting will begin today to determine whether faculty will grant their union’s board of directors, the California Faculty Association, the authority to call a strike if the legally required bargaining is left without an agreement.
The bargaining process involving the 23 California State University campuses broke down last Wednesday after 22 months passed without being able to reach an agreement with the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees.
Lillian Taiz, president of the CFA and history professor at California State University Los Angeles, said the poor faculty conditions relate directly to students’ quality education.
“How many students can fit in the classroom? When will it reach a limit?” Taiz said. “They [Chancellor’s Office] will not budget for that.”
But according to CSU Media Relations Specialist Erik Fallis, CFA’s proposals come with a $203 million price tag.
“Our resources are very limited and taking out money from our very limited budget would mean cutting down other resources students need,” Fallis said. “Students could be sacrificing financial aid advising, building maintenance or even their department counselors.”
Kim Geron, vice president of the CFA, is concerned about top executives on campus terminating faculty members instead of allowing the heads of departments to decide which teachers should stay or leave.
“It is critical to assess our own peers and not let outsiders choose who is best to teach in our departments,” Geron said.
The chancellor’s proposal would make the offer of multi-year contracts solely at the discretion of top executives, raising the concern that without a stable workforce, most of the contracts are temporary, leaving students without a stable staff to guide them through college.
“We just want this to bring attention to the way the board is dealing with both students and faculty,” Taiz said. “ This strike will be mostly symbolic and very powerful.”
In-person voting times will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today through Thursday at the San Diego State Faculty Staff Club. The online vote for the whole CSU system will end on April 27.