CFA members across all 23 California State University campuses voted to support authorizing a strike in a 95 percent vote.
We have made it clear to CSU management that they need to invest their money where it matters – the people and programs with direct impact on student learning and success – or there will be job actions, such as a strike.
An independent external fiscal analysis shows that the CSU brings in enough of a surplus – and has been doing so over the last 10 years – to deliver on all of our proposals, despite their claims of lacking sufficient funds. CSU management can cover all our demands without needing to dip into the lavish amounts of money they’ve accrued in cash and investments.
Still, on November 2, CSU management came back to the table with a counterproposal that had little to do with fairness or equity and disregarded the intent of our demands. Their most recent offer only includes a 5 percent General Salary Increase (GSI) for this year (2023-2024 Academic Year), and an additional 5 percent GSI for the following two years, contingent on state budget.
This counterproposal is coated in contingency language, which means most of the proposed salary increases are not guaranteed. Our members know from prior experience that any GSI contingent on state funding is a hollow offer that may not materialize. We continue to demand a 12% GSI for this year to keep faculty ahead of inflation over the last two years.
Moreover, this offer still fails to address any of the real transformations we wish to create on our campuses.
In choosing to only address the issue of salary, CSU management has failed to acknowledge our workload concerns, health and safety concerns, and paid leave concerns. Our most vulnerable faculty, our Black and brown, trans, queer, and non-binary faculty are still being passed over in management’s most recent offer.
Without raising the salary floor for our lowest-paid faculty, any GSI will have little impact at the bottom of the salary structure. We also demand adequate workload, so we can provide students with the education they deserve. We need to expand paid parental leave to a full semester. We need to hire more counselors and decrease counselor workload so that students have better access to mental health services. We must create accessible lactation and milk storage spaces for lactating faculty and students, and we must provide safe gender-inclusive restrooms and changing rooms.
Their counterproposal comes at a time when we are nearing the end of our statutory process. A factfinder is currently preparing a report that will include non-binding recommendations for how a settlement could be reached. After the report is issued, our bargaining team and CSU management will enter a 10-day silent period to review the report before it becomes public.
If factfinding doesn’t result in an agreement, then the statutory process will end and we will gain the right to legally strike. At that point, CSU management can impose its last, best, and final offer (LBFO). The LBFO is management’s final attempt to offer the best-case proposal and suggests that no further negotiations will be made. Their current LBFO is a 5% GSI for this year only along with an increase in parking rates, and little to no movement on any of our other demands.
On November 1, just four days after CFA members voted overwhelming in favor of the strike authorization vote, the Associated Students Inc. at California State University Sacramento (ASCSUS) unanimously passed a resolution in support of improving faculty pay and working conditions.
Speaking to the resolution, Michael Lee-Chang, an intern with Students for Quality Education (SQE) at CSU Sacramento, said, “Investing in faculty is investing in the future of our students. Improved pay and conditions for educators translate into enriched learning, increased access to mentorship, and a stronger foundation for academic success. This resolution is not merely a call for fairness, but rather proof of longstanding support from students in moving towards a more beneficial and equitable CSU for all.”
Andrea Terry, CFA Sacramento Political Action and Legislation Committee Chair and professor at CSU Sacramento, spoke out in support of the resolution when it was brought forward. When it was passed, she asserted, “I don’t think I have ever heard of a group of students articulate the challenges faculty face more clearly than I did while watching our ASI Board discuss the resolution.”
“Listening to these students, I realized that we must share these issues with them. Our exploitation is a portrait of what their future will look like – and worse – if we do not fight together. I cannot wait to see them on the picket line,” said Terry.
The resolution declares full support of all our current proposals. You can read the resolution here.