Strike vote begins on Hayward campus

Louis LaVenture,
News and Sports Editor

Drums, songs and chants coming from the sidewalk behind the Music building could be heard throughout the Cal State East Bay Hayward campus this week.

This wasn’t a student event, it was the faculty and staff making the noise. The California Faculty Association began picketing on Monday during the strike authorization vote period, Oct. 19-28. The vote determines whether CFA leadership is authorized to call a strike at the end of the ongoing collective bargaining process.

The CFA is asking for a five percent pay increase for their union members. The CSU system has budgeted a two percent raise for all employees including CFA members for the current academic year, but some faculty feel this isn’t enough.

“We have rejected the chancellor’s two percent increase,” Nicholas Baham, CSUEB ethnic studies professor and CFA chapter president said. “Which by the way, was a figure he put out there prior to the increase to the budget.”

Baham referred to the $216.5 million budget granted to the CSU system this year by the state, which is the first full budget request the system has received since 2006-2007. The CFA claims that CSU presidential salaries have increased by 36 percent since 2004, while faculty salaries in that same time period have only risen 10 percent.

“Money for faculty is money for students,” Baham said. “It’s investing in education.”

Baham explained he believes higher education should be free and students will eventually “take back the campus that belongs to them.”

According to the CSU Chancellor’s Office, the two percent increase will cost $32.8 million and the total 6.2 percent increase requested by the CFA would cost $108 million. The CSU Labor Relations department released a statement on Oct. 8 after the second mediated negotiation between the two sides, which ended without an agreement.

“Compensation remains a top priority,” CSU Director of Public Affairs Toni Molle said. “That’s why faculty were the only group of employees to receive salary increases and tenure-track salary promotions during the recession years.”

According to Molle, employee compensation was one of the top priorities for the CSU system, which is why the new budget included a raise for faculty. Molle said the list of priorities also includes the hiring of new faculty, facility improvements and repairs, as well as technology upgrades.

The strike authorization-voting period ends at 6 p.m. on Oct. 28 to determine if the staff and faculty will go on strike.