The California Faculty Association’s Board of Directors on Wednesday unanimously voted to call for a five-day system-wide strike at all 23 California State University campuses in coalition with Teamsters Local 2010 members Jan. 22–26, the first week of the spring semester.
“The strikes are dependent on whether the CFA Bargaining Team’s upcoming meetings with CSU management on January 8, 9, 11, and 12 will bear fruit,” the union said in a statement. “They can, at any time, prevent a strike by offering us a fair contract. If they do not, then we will escalate our job actions to create a more promising future for all of us”
The strike aims to build on union members’ show of solidarity during the first week of December when thousands of faculty, students, staff, and community allies marched in picket lines at the CSUcampuses at Pomona, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento.
The faculty union said that In the aftermath of the one-day strikes, CSU administrators “refused to make any significant movement on our proposals. They seem reassured that we will eventually surrender to our dismal working conditions, paltry wages, inadequate parental leave, shortage of counseling faculty, lack of gender inclusive restrooms, and a host of other injustices Charles Toombs, CFA President, said in a statement:. “Unlike management, we are unwilling to be complicit in the harming of our colleagues, students, and staff.”
“As CSU management refuses to listen, we have no alternative but to disrupt the business of the CSU to get their attention,” said Meghan O’Donnell, CFA Associate Vice President of Lecturers, North, and CSU Monterey Bay lecturer. “The CSU runs on union labor and they need dedicated employees and students for the system to function.”
Earlier this month, thousands of CFA members across the state rallied together at one-day strikes across four CSU campuses: Pomona, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. CFA claimed its members were able to fully shut down operations at all four striking universities.
Students, staff, and community allies picketed alongside faculty to demand fair wages for all faculty, raising the salary for lowest-paid faculty, a full semester of paid parental leave, more counselors to support students, faculty workload support, lactation rooms, gender-inclusive bathrooms and changing rooms.
At the CSU Los Angeles rally in early December, CFA President Charles Toombs told the crowd. “We are so proud to see all our union siblings out here today helping us lead the cause in a transformation of the CSU. We have heard speakers say how CSU management is totally out of touch with the current generation of faculty, students, and staff. We are going to have to get them on the right track.”
Teamsters Local 2010 members held sympathy strikes and turned up as early as 5am on the four campuses to shut down construction sites.
Teamsters Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz said to the crowd at CSU Los Angeles, “We are fed up with workers being mistreated. We are fed up with management’s unfair practices and greed.”
Speaking to parenting faculty, Cal Poly Pomona Lecturer Cody Trokan complained that “CSU hurts working families, children, and parents.”
“We’re asking for an entire term to be granted to faculty when they’re up for paternity leave,” said Trokan. “I’ve had my colleagues work up until their due date and then are not given leave for the whole semester, but are supposed to return to work. It’s bad for our students who have faculty coming in and out of the classroom.”
At San Francisco State, CFA San Francisco President Brad Erickson addressed a proposal to lay off a substantial number of lecturer faculty: “As we’re fighting for a fair contract, the administration decided to cut about three hundred lecturer faculty for the spring. They’re cutting over 650 classes, which means students are slowed on their way to graduation, and they don’t have access to the electives that make this a special place. We’re about love because we want to keep what’s special about San Francisco, and management wants to tear it down.