California Faculty Association to hold strikes after failing to reach agreement with CSU over salary raises

Anthony Carpio

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Faculty members at two CSU campuses will hold day-long concerted actions after failing to come to an agreement with the CSU over salary raises.

Cal State Dominquez Hills and Cal State East Bay will hold their actions Nov. 17, said Nate Thomas, president of CSUN’s California Faculty Association (CFA) chapter. Northern California CSU campuses will gather at East Bay, and southern campuses will gather at Dominguez Hills.

A concerted action is a form of protest, but not a strike, Thomas said, but both forms of protest have to meet requirements for them to be legal.

“A concerted action and a strike are legal because the chancellor’s office has broken the contract,” he said.

One of two contracts from 2008-09 and 2009-10 have been broken, and they include salary raises, said Erik Fallis, CSU spokesman.

Fallis, who speaks on behalf of CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, said the action planned by the CFA is inappropriate.

“It’s premature and potentially disruptive for the students, and to take concerted action of any sort at this point is premature,” Fallis said.

CSUs Dominguez Hills and East Bay were selected to hold the concerted actions because of the circumstances they are facing due to the budget cuts.

“Those campuses chose themselves because they felt like they were ready to be the campuses to lead those one-day actions,” said Audrena Redmond, CFA regional representative for CSUN.

Though Dominguez Hills and East Bay are relatively smaller than other CSUs, representatives from both campuses said they are the right candidates for the action.

“We serve working-class students and we’ve suffered the most under some of the misguided polices of the chancellor,” said David Bradfield, Dominguez Hills CFA chapter president. “They’re misguided priorities. We don’t think he’s supporting what the students in California need.”

East Bay CFA chapter president Jennifer Eagan added that both campuses have strong union leadership.  Eagan said their campus took a bigger hit from the budget cuts compared to other campuses.

In addition to student needs, faculty salaries are an issue the CFA and CSU have not been able to agree on.

“There’s the point made that faculty salaries are somehow stagnant. That’s far from true,” Fallis said. “We have, between 2008 and 2010, provided $59.05 million in raises to members of that bargaining unit through various means. One of which was general salary increase, which faculty received in 2008.”

But Thomas said the reason why the CFA is executing their concerted action is because the CSU has not given faculty raises.

“We deserve, as faculty, to be treated fairly and we’ve been treated extremely unfair by the chancellor’s office,” Thomas said. “(Reed) has the money and he decides to use it the way he wants to use it. He’s not being fair to the faculty, and it isn’t all about raises, but it is about working conditions.”

CFA is also planning to have an informational picket on Nov. 8 or 9, which would be the precursor to the concerted action.

“It’s time to escalate. It’s enough playing games. It’s been a year and a half now without a contract,” Thomas said. “And some of the proposals they’ve thrown out at bargaining are really funny. It’s comical. Life’s too short for game playing.”