Members of the California Faculty Association and its supporters will picket today near the Sierra Center in the wake of stalled negotiations with the California State University system and the possibility of rolling strikes later in the semester.
Other CSU campuses have been having similar picketing sessions since mid-January. CSUN’s will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. and will start near the Sierra Center.
Sociology professor Dave Ballard, who is the head of the CSUN CFA chapter, said various media outlets are expected at the picketing, as well as local political representatives. He predicted a turnout of between 20 and 30 faculty members, in addition to students who support the CFA in its goals.
Ballard said that the CFA is concentrating on three issues – rising student fees, the executive perks scandal that recently caused a system-wide uproar, and the contract issues that faculty have been working on for nearly two years.
As of Feb. 1, the CSU and CFA have appointed a fact-finding panel in accordance with the next step of the impasse procedures.
The CSU put out a press release stating, “The CSU has made an excellent compensation offer that will benefit all faculty members and make their compensation more competitive.”
On the CSU’s Web site, a copy of the 2006-2007 budget proposal states that the system needs $16.5 million to catch up faculty and staff salary lags.
“I think the more important question is to look at the faculty offer, and for the faculty to understand what we’re offering them,” said Claudia Keith, a representative of the Chancellor’s Office.
The CSU has made an offer for a 24 percent increase over four years. The CFA, however, claims that this number is skewed, and that by the CFA’s calculations, the CSU is offering approximately 3.75 percent a year instead.
If the fact-finding panel fails to please either side, a strike could be imminent. Ballard has said that for the foreseeable future, rolling two-day strikes are a possibility across the CSU system.
The idea that students might have a delayed graduation due to a strike this semester should not be an issue, the CFA said in a question-and-answer e-mail.
“At this point, we are not planning for an open-ended walkout,” the e-mail read.