A new term begins for students, faculty, and staff across the CSU system.

As the 2021-22 academic year gets underway, CFA member leaders want to extend our gratitude to all of our faculty, staff, and students for working tirelessly over the past 17-plus months, pushing us to virtual learning and teaching because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has been a difficult and tiring year-and-a-half. COVID-19 has severely impacted all our lives. But good, hard work was put in by all of you and I couldn’t be prouder of my colleagues and our students,” said Charles Toombs, CFA President. “As we begin the new term, let’s keep in mind that faculty, students, and staff keep the CSU afloat, maintain and generate its excellence, and give the CSU system its statewide and national prominence.

“In addition, let’s continue to do our work with kindness, generosity, and love for one another.”

We need to be honest with how this term may affect us: cases continue to rise due to the Delta variant – this pandemic isn’t over. As CFA leaders wrote in an email last week, we’re extremely saddened and frustrated by the continuance of this deadly virus. 

CFA member Molly Talcott holds a sign saying "We are bargaining for rights, respect and justice.
CFA Bargaining Team member Molly Talcott.

CFA leaders continue to look out for the health and safety of students and faculty. Recently, we negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding with the CSU pertaining to their COVID-19 employee testing program and continue to meet on other health and safety measures as faculty, staff, and students return to campus this semester, including the system’s vaccine mandate.

CFA member leaders fully support this mandate from the CSU, and if you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, we implore you – as your colleagues and as your friends – to please get vaccinated as soon as possible. We have a moral responsibility to make sure all our faculty, staff, and students are safe and healthy this upcoming year. Scientists and public health experts indicate the best available way to do that is through vaccination.

Most of us across the 23 campuses will return to campus in the coming days and weeks. The Chancellor’s Office doesn’t think repopulating is the right call yet.

Well, not the right call for the Chancellor’s workplace, even though faculty and staff are be urged to repopulate our campuses.

Three weeks ago, the Chancellor’s Office announced it would be delaying in-person work for their office until at least October 4 while tens of thousands of us must return to campus amid an increase of infections.

Our member leaders at CFA Stanislaus worked with Stanislaus State administrators to delay in-person on-campus instruction to October 1, in part, because of the Chancellor’s own delay.

“This administrative hypocritical mentality of ‘for me, not we’ needs to stop,” said Moe Miller, CFA Associate Vice President Lecturers, South. “While we are working to negotiate a safe and healthy semester for our faculty and our students, it remains unclear at this time why the Chancellor’s Office can work from home during the pandemic while most others cannot.”

Our work to ensure a successful term comes as we continue bargaining a successor contract with the CSU.

Over the weekend, members participated virtually in CFA’s fall semester kickoff, which included training on bargaining and membership outreach to let faculty better understand new contract proposals and how they can help ensure the best possible contract for faculty that serves their rights, respect, and justice.

Months ago, CFA proposed a salary increase for all faculty, backdated to acknowledge the work faculty performed last year during the pandemic. Faculty earned this increase. The CSU doesn’t think so and refused to acknowledge faculty work during the pandemic. Earlier this month, we also pushed back on the CSU’s attempts to eliminate grievances allowed under Articles 10 and 16.

The CFA Bargaining Team met with management on Tuesday and will meet with them again later this week. 

“After months of proposing take-backs that would harm faculty without offering any evidence that their proposals were solving actually existing problems, the management has retracted some – but not all – of their more regressive proposals,” said Molly Talcott, CFA Representation Chair. “Even with the welcome retractions on take-backs, management has neither offered any improvements to the contract nor has accepted any of our excellent proposals to improve the contract for faculty and to advance for racial and social justice within the CSU.”

Please continue to read CFAbargaining.org for the latest in bargaining updates and reach out to your CFA campus field representatives to learn about new opportunities to get involved in our bargaining campaign.

We thank you for all the work that you do – and we wish everyone a successful Fall 2021-22 term.

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