More than a year-and-a-half of contract negotiations and the CSU still doesn’t get it.

A group of people standing outside

Faculty, students, staff, and supporters – tired of management’s hollow words and big public talk, but no action – spoke out to the Board of Trustees last week about what it’s really like to work at the CSU.

Students, counselors, lecturers, librarians, professors, and union leaders and members, alike, spoke truth to power against the CSU’s handling of contract negotiations and their inability to do anything but say ‘no’ to fair contract proposals presented by CFA.

Outside 401 Golden Shore, more than 130 people chanted joined together, chanting, conversing, singing, dancing, and advocating for our rights.

Our respect.

Our justice.

“What do we want?” Moe Miller, CFA Associate Vice President, Lecturers, South asked the audience.

“A FAIR CONTRACT!” faculty and students answered back.

“When do we want it?” replied Miller.

“NOW!” responded faculty and students.

A chorus rang out as the rich, melonic sounds of a student saxophonist and faculty and student bucket drummers provided live music throughout the morning of Nov. 9 outside the Chancellor’s Office.

In the background, close to a dozen cars with students and faculty drove by – honking in support, nearly in unison with the chants, for a fair contract for faculty.

A green car with a sign on it

“(Campus management) might have forgotten their responsibilities, but we will remind them that they need to speak up for us, because it is us who made them look good,” Vang Vang, CFA Treasurer and member of the Bargaining Team said during the rally, discussing the sacrifices faculty made to keep the CSU afloat.

Faculty and students shared heartfelt stories of struggle, dedication, and service – their lived experiences throughout the pandemic.

“I think it’s unconscionable that we continue to expect our lecturers not to be present in the lives of their loved ones and their families,” said Alejandro Villalpando, a Latin American Studies assistant professor at CSU Los Angeles.

As the Rally for Rights, Respect, and Justice ended, the Board of Trustees meeting slowly began. Inside, students, faculty, and staff waited, and waited, and waited nearly an hour for public comment to begin.

You can rewatch the full rally livestream here.

Trustees met in person for the first time in more than 18 months, allowing a small capacity crowd indoors – with temperature checks prior to admittance. But Trustees allowed virtual testimonials, as well, keeping a public comment period open for those unable to attend.

More than 50 CFA members spoke during public comment calling on trustees and Chancellor Joseph I. Castro to put their social justice and equity rhetoric into action and accept CFA’s bargaining proposals to eliminate long-standing inequities at the CSU.

CFA members at the Rally in Long Beach.

View photos and videos from chapter activities and the statewide rally.

“The uncertainty about future employment is something that causes anxiety for me on a regular basis, so opportunities for increased job security for those of us who make up the majority of faculty at many campuses are needed,” Wendy St. John, a lecturer in two departments at Sonoma State University, said during public comment. “I also urge you to consider the enormous amount of additional work faculty and staff have done in response to the pandemic over the past two years and remember that a fair pay increase is not an extension of generosity, it’s what we have worked for and earned.”

“I have been working here for nine years now and I live in a parking spot,” Johnathan Chen, CFA member and lecturer at Sacramento State University said during public comment. “I barely make any money and it’s a real struggle for lecturers. We’re not asking for much when we ask for this four percent raise.”

Image with 4% sign

“We extended the contract during the pandemic for good faith bargaining, but you haven’t done that – CFA has,” said Julianna Gutierrez, a member of Students for Quality Education and student at CSU San Marcos during public comment. “They have asked for a wage increase to keep up with inflation and counselor-to-student ratios, but CSU rejected all the articles.

“Chancellor Castro: settle the contract. (Faculty) working conditions are student-learning conditions.”

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