CFA announces dates for 5-day strike

Dr.+Darel+Engen%2C+president+of+the+CSUSM+chapter+of+CFA%2C+discusses+employee+pay+and+the+potential+for%0A%0Aa+faculty+strike+at+a+rally+in+Chavez+plaza+in+October+2015.
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CFA announces dates for 5-day strike

Dr. Darel Engen, president of the CSUSM chapter of CFA, discusses employee pay and the potential for

a faculty strike at a rally in Chavez plaza in October 2015.

Dr. Darel Engen, president of the CSUSM chapter of CFA, discusses employee pay and the potential for a faculty strike at a rally in Chavez plaza in October 2015.

Rhealynn Ravarra

Dr. Darel Engen, president of the CSUSM chapter of CFA, discusses employee pay and the potential for a faculty strike at a rally in Chavez plaza in October 2015.

Rhealynn Ravarra

Rhealynn Ravarra

Dr. Darel Engen, president of the CSUSM chapter of CFA, discusses employee pay and the potential for a faculty strike at a rally in Chavez plaza in October 2015.

Jasmine Demers, Managing Editor

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The California Faculty Association announced that they will hold a 5-day strike on all 23 CSU campuses unless the required negotiation process results in an agreement.

On Monday, Feb. 8, union leaders hosted a teleconference at the CFA headquarters in downtown Sacramento where they explained that their Board of Directors, in consultation with CFA chapter presidents, have set potential strike dates for April 13 through April 15, and April 18 and April 19.

For the past year, the CFA and CSU have failed to agree on faculty salaries. The CFA wants a 5 percent general salary increase, while the CSU administration is offering  2 percent offer. After going through the negotiation and mediation process since May 2015, they are now in factfinding, “the final stage of the statutory process spelled out in state law.”

“Both sides are preparing final briefs for the fact-finding panel and can expect the official report in about 6 weeks. When this report becomes public, the faculty will be legally able to strike,” said Kevin Wehr, Chair of CFA’s Bargaining Team and a Sociology Professor at Sacramento State.

If the strike takes place, faculty will temporarily discontinue any work related to the university and will stage picket lines on each CSU campus.

“We don’t want to strike, but we will. The faculty will not back down,” said CFA President Dr. Jennifer Eagan. “CSU faculty are angry and have consistently expressed their anger at the Board of Trustees and at Chancellor White’s visits to the CSU campuses. Unlike our peers, we have not been able to keep up with the cost of living in California and recover from the recession.”

The CFA argue that at their current wages, it is nearly impossible for them to provide for themselves and their families and still dedicate enough quality time to their students. The CSU on the other hand, has said that a 5 percent general wage increase would also mean an equal increase for other bargaining units, resulting in the estimated cost of over $139 million.

“We are here today after nearly a year of negotiating over faculty salaries for the 2015-2016 academic year,” said Wehr. “Chancellor Timothy White is offering a mere 2 percent and stubbornly refuses to move from this position. We continue to reject this lowball offer. It barely keeps up with inflation and does not help bring our faculty out of the deep holes of 10 years of stagnated wages.”

In response to the strike announcement, the CSU Office of the Chancellor released a statement which read: “The California State University remains committed to reaching a resolution.  Campuses are preparing for the possibility of a strike.  If a strike occurs, campuses intend to remain open.  Many classes will be offered, and students should check with their instructors regarding the status of their classes.”

CSUSM’s Public Information Officer Margaret Chantung also provided a statement in response to the strike announcement and explained what a strike might mean for CSUSM.

If a resolution between the CFA and the CSU is not reached and the faculty decide to strike, Cal State San Marcos will remain open and student instruction and other student services will continue,” said Chantung. “We are committed to assuring that our students progress to their degrees as scheduled, and it is important to us that students continue to participate in their normal academic activities.”

According to Dr. Eagan of the CFA, in the event that the strike is carried out as scheduled and it fails to bring the CSU management back to the negotiating table, the Board of Directors will plan for further actions.

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