After bosses refuse to budge, 29K Calif. Faculty Assn. members prepare to strike
Members of the California Faculty Association rally and picket during a strike at San Francisco State University on Dec. 5, 2023, in San Francisco. Faculty at California State University, the largest public university system in the U.S., could stage a systemwide strike later this month after school officials ended contract negotiations Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, with a unilateral offer of a 5% pay raise, far below what the union is demanding. | Godofredo A. Vásquez / AP

SACRAMENTO—A breakdown in contract negotiations, with bosses refusing to budge, led the California Faculty Association’s 29,000 members to plan a five-day strike for Jan. 22-26 for the entire California State University system.

The board of the CFA, which is affiliated with the Service Employees and the American Association of University Professors, voted unanimously in December to authorize the strike, in solidarity with Teamsters Local 2010. That local represents other workers on the university system’s 23 campuses.

Five days of talks were scheduled for Jan. 8-12, but the bosses walked out on Jan. 9, rejecting all the CFA’s proposals and slamming down a “last, best, and final” offer of a 5% raise and no changes in working conditions, CBS News in Sacramento reported.

CFA seeks a 12% raise, plus bosses’ written commitment to address the university system’s problems, plus longer paid family and medical leave, and a greater commitment to racial and social justice on the system campuses.

“CFA members delivered four proposals Monday, but were met with disrespect from management today,” the union said on Jan. 9. “After 20 minutes, the CSU management bargaining team threatened systemwide layoffs, walked out of bargaining, canceled all remaining negotiations, then imposed a last, best and final offer on CFA members.”

The planned January strike is not the CFA’s first. It staged a one-day walkout late last year at campuses in Pomona, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. CFA represents lecturers, professors, counselors, librarians, and coaches.

“In the aftermath” of the prior walkout, “our bargaining team met with CSU management only to discover that–-despite our heartfelt efforts–-they’ve refused to make any significant movement on our proposals,” the union explained on its website.

“They seem reassured 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 that plague the CSU system.”

“Our members refuse to give in to what they know is beneath their worth,” said union President Charles Toombs. “Unlike management, we are unwilling to be complicit in the harming of our colleagues, students, and staff. Our commitment to one another is unshakeable.

“Given the ongoing disregard of management, we will be striking with Teamsters Local 2010 members as we collectively push for a fair contract for our workers. As management refuses to listen, we have no alternative but to disrupt the business of the CSU to get their attention,” Toombs added.

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Press Associates
Press Associates

Press Associates Inc. (PAI), is a union news service in Washington D.C. Mark Gruenberg is the editor.