Strike looms for CSU faculty



Louis LaVenture,
News and Campus editor

On Sept. 24 the California Faculty Association announced they would hold a 10-day voting period from Oct. 19 to 28 to decide if they would go on strike.

CFA President and Cal State East Bay professor of philosophy and public affairs administration, Jennifer Eagan, said at an address to CSU representatives last month that negotiations between the two sides have broken down and are currently in mediation.

The roses are nice but we need the bread

“The intrinsic and personal rewards derived from teaching our amazing students and engaging in our fascinating disciplines do not pay the bills,” Eagan said at the meeting on Thursday. “The roses are nice but we need the bread.”

The 23-campus system has over 24,000 employees that could be affected by the strike if an agreement is not reached by Oct. 28. In July, the CSU Chancellor’s Office approved a two percent raise for all employees that the CFA and President Eagan felt was unacceptable. The CSU system also received its first full budget request of $217 million from the state of California since 2008, which according to the CSU Chancellor’s Office officials was supposed to boost student enrollment as well as faculty and staff wages.

In addition to the five percent salary increase request, CFA is also seeking a 2.5 percent increase for 12,000 employees in the CFA union that are “drastically underpaid,” according to Eagan.

“We want you to put money towards what you claim to value,” Eagan told the CSU Board of Trustees. “Which is faculty in the classroom and student success.”

In 2011, CSU faculty went on strike to protest cuts made during the economic recession. In 2007, the union voted to strike but the CSU system was able to come to an agreement with the CFA before the strike went into effect. Union members will have until Oct. 28 to vote on this potential strike.

The union has produced a series of reports since 2008 that they claim show a disparity between money invested into staff and faculty wages and other areas. The union representatives feel that with the full budget request received, faculty and staff wages should be increased.

Inspiration and motivation to students is something that can’t be taken lightly

“I was told I could make up my lost wages through teaching summer school and writing grants,” Donna Andrews, an instructor in the department of teacher education at CSU Stanislaus, said last month. “That never happened.”

Andrews was offered a job in Ohio before beginning at CSUS in 2008 and was told by school officials of ways to make up her lost salary. She forfeited $30,000 extra dollars of income per year because she thought she would be able to make up the difference through those options that she was later denied.

Pedro E. Nava graduated from CSU Fresno in 2001 and also attended Harvard University. Nava is an assistant professor of education and educational leadership at Mills College in Oakland but has also taught at CSU Los Angeles and CSU San Bernardino.

“Now is the time for the CSU system to show a commitment to educators,” Nava said. “Inspiration and motivation to students is something that can’t be taken lightly.”