It was announced yesterday that 95 percent of California Faculty Association members who voted on all 23 California State University campuses have approved to authorize a strike, if a bargain is not reached with the CSU Chancellor’s Office.
CSU faculty members have approved a rolling two-day strike if CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed refuses to settle a fair contract and imposes his demands. This verdict was announced at a conference at CSU Long Beach.
According to Erik Fallis, CSU media relations manager, the CFA members — the faculty members whose votes determined the outcome of the strike decision — account for roughly 50 percent of all faculty members. Out of this percentage, only 70 percent of CFA members voted on whether or not to strike. Because of this, approximately one-third of faculty members voted positively to strike.
Furthermore, the opinions of the CFA and CSU regarding the bargaining process differ greatly thus far.
“As chair of the CFA Bargaining Team, I can tell you that negotiating with the representatives of the CSU and Chancellor Charles Reed has been a difficult and disappointing process,” Andy Merrifield, chair of CFA’s Bargaining Team, said during the news conference.
He said the administration and executives of the CSU system are not fully conscious of the difficulties that occur within the classroom.
On the other hand, Fallis said the collective bargaining process is the main priority for the chancellor’s office, and those involved in the bargaining on the CFA side have been very constructive.
“The bargaining team has agreed to come back to the table with us, and will actually be sitting down with us tomorrow,” Fallis said. “We think there are only a limited number of issues we haven’t come to an agreement on with the Faculty Union bargaining team.”
Fallis said the vote will have no influence on the bargaining process. He then described this threat of striking as “typical pressure tactics.”
“It’s not really relevant to what’s happening on the bargaining table,” Fallis said. “At this point, striking is illegal. So they couldn’t, even if they wanted to.”
CFA president Lillian Taiz, a history professor at CSU Los Angeles, expressed how the current quality of the CSU system not only affects the faculty, but also the students.
“During the past few weeks, we have been showing our students that there are times when you simply must stand up for the things you believe in,” Taiz said.
Taiz delved into the fact that students are accumulating more debt because of fee increases. She claimed they are taking longer to graduate because they are unable to enroll in the classes they need to complete their programs in time. Taiz said the professors are not only fighting this battle for themselves, but to better the education of the students.
The contract would cost the CSU system $504.1 million throughout three years.
“Where does the faculty union leadership think (this money) is going to come from, if not from loss of services and educational access?” Fallis said.
If a bargain is not reached in the next process, the strike could potentially affect the approximately 400,000 students expected to enroll in the CSU system next semester.