San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

What you need to know about the CFA strike

SDSU faculty join the thousands of CSU employees striking this week for better pay and improved working conditions
Christie Yeung
Members of the California Faculty Association (CFA) gathered at a bus stop on the San Diego State University campus, holding signs in support of a CFA strike advocating for improved paid and working conditions on Jan. 22, 2024

Members of the California Faculty Association (CFA) — representing 29,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches — will be demonstrating in a systemwide strike from Jan. 22 to Jan. 26, urging the California State University (CSU) system to negotiate for pay increases and better working conditions.

At San Diego State University, CFA members are demonstrating at major entrances around the campus, such as the Aztec Student Union and the SDSU Transit Center

Negotiations have been ongoing for the past several months, and the current strike comes on the heels of a major Teamster Local 2010 strike that resulted in a tentative agreement with the CSU

As for the CSU and CFA, a final agreement has yet to be reached.

Early last week, CFA sat down with the chancellor’s office to negotiate several requests, including a 12% pay increase. 

CFA maintains that 12% is no random number, but is intended to match the rapid inflation in California and across the country. 

“Inflation has been really high for the last couple of years and much higher than the 5% that administrators proposed — it is close to 12% — and guess what, that is what we are asking for,” said Jochen Kressler, vice president of the CFA San Diego Chapter. 

The CSU responded by accepting 12 out of the 15 recommendations of a state-appointed neutral fact-finding report, however, they offered a yearly 5% increase over three years rather than the 12% requested by the CFA. 

“The CFA focused primarily on the 12% raise for this fiscal year and has not been willing to move from this, even though… a 12% raise would not be financially viable,” said the CSU in a press release.

As a result, CFA members across all 23 California State University campuses voted to support authorizing a strike in a 95% percent vote. 

“If we were to agree to the increase these unions are demanding, we would have to make severe cuts to programs,” said Leora Freedman, CSU vice chancellor for Human Resources in a press conference. “We would have to lay off employees… the Faculty Union’s compensation demands would cost (the) CSU approximately $380 million in the first year alone and every year after that.”

According to the CFA website, “CSU campuses are fighting for better pay, sustainable, workloads, improved parental leave, more counselors and campuses that are both safe and accessible for everyone.”

“There are professors at our university who have housing instability, food instability, who have to use our food pantry, who are living week-to-week in different weekly hotels because they cannot afford to rent in the city that they actually teach in,” said Tawny Whaley, a philosophy professor at San Diego State University. “I teach at four different institutions across San Diego to make ends meet.” 

Tanya Gaxiola Serrano, an assistant professor for the College of Education, was among those picketing in the pouring rain this morning. Gaxiola Serrano hopes that the strike will send a message to not only the CSU, but to the wider San Diego community. 

“Historically when there’s been large movements that — at times — inconvenience people, that’s when you get to draw the attention of folks. Which in this case, is administration,” Gaxiola Serrano said. “We’re trying to get folks out here to draw the attention to administration and send a message, letting them know that we’re serious about wanting to be heard.”

SDSU classes remain in session, with no campus-wide cancellation in place. 

However, individual faculty members have the option to cancel their classes this week in support of the strike. The campus will stay open, and student services will operate as usual throughout the week.

This story is ongoing.

To read in Spanish, click here.

About the Contributors
Katerina Portela
Katerina Portela, Staff Writer
Jennifer Aguilar
Jennifer Aguilar, '23-24 Mundo Azteca Editor
Jennifer Aguilar is a junior at San Diego State and a first-generation transfer student. She formerly attended San Diego Mesa College where she was the News Editor and the Editor-in-Chief of The Mesa Press. Her goal is to become a bilingual broadcast journalist for a news or entertainment outlet. She also enjoys filming and editing videos for her youtube channel with over 40k views (as of now).
Christie Yeung, '24-25 News Editor
Born in Hong Kong, Christie Yeung is a first-generation transfer student who majors in journalism at San Diego State University. Prior to arriving at SDSU, she served as the Gaming/Tech Editor, Features Editor and Managing Editor of SAC Media at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California where she was placed in on-the-spot competitions such as fourth in News photo, second in Portrait photo, first in Sports photo, first in Social Media and second in News writing, along with a meritorious mention in the Enterprise News Story/Series category from Journalism Association of Community Colleges. She was also awarded second in Best Breaking News Stories by the California College Media Association. During her free time, she likes to watch European soccer games, read, listen to Cantonese-pop music and play video games and Dungeons & Dragons with her online friends. She also has a sweet tooth and cannot turn away anything with Nutella in it.