Faculty strikes at CSU over contracts

by Bill Crotty

Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor
Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor

The California Faculty Association will have a one-day strike at two California State University campuses next week in protest against unfair compensation. The CSU system denies the faculty union’s claims of inequality and fairness in salaries and compensation at the core of the strike.

“The dispute here is over a very specific issue in our contract, but that issue is symptomatic of much bigger problems,” Alice Sunshine, communications director for the CFA, said.

On Monday, the CFA met in a special session to discuss the possibility of a one-day strike and the vote showed 93 percent in support of a strike, which will occur at CSU East Bay and CSU Dominguez Hills.

“All of us who voted ‘yes’ did so because we understand that we must now send the chancellor a plain and simple message about his skewed priorities,” CFA President Lillian Taiz said. “We hope this … will lead to changes in his priorities and his positions. If it does not, the CFA leadership, and the CSU faculty we represent, are prepared to escalate the fight.”

According to CSU spokesperson Erik Fallis, the faculty union is making the issue excessively complicated.

“The issue is, the union leadership is willing to deny students their education over a $20 million increase for a small group of faculty,” Fallis said.

Fallis said the previous budget cuts handed down by the state of California and additional cuts on the horizon make a salary raise for “only some faculty” unfair.

The CFA has cited San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman’s raise as an example of executive pay increases, but according to Fallis, the same example can be applied to new faculty members.

“No sitting president has received a general salary raise since 2007,” Fallis said. “Neither has the chancellor or managers in the CSU system, although some have been eligible for such a raise.”

The raises given to executives, according to Fallis, have only been altered when someone was promoted or given additional job duties. This situation is one of the CFA’s contentions, and an example used to show an increase in executive pay.

Fallis said last year the CSU faculty was given a general raise, but the amount was a fraction of a percent because the entire dedicated amount was divided between all faculty members.

Previously negotiated contracts entitled the CFA to salary increases, however Fallis said the contract also stated the CSU could renegotiate the salaries if it did not receive a certain amount of funding. Then budget cuts occurred.

“If the state had given us the funding promised, we would have been able to provide the previously negotiated salaries,” Fallis said.

More information about next week’s strikes and informational picketing that started yesterday and will continue through today can be found at calfac.org/campus-cfa-chapters.


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