On September 30, CFA declared impasse in bargaining proceedings.
The state-appointed mediator offered us five dates to meet in October, and management agreed to only one. (We said yes to all of them.) Within days of agreeing to the one date, CSU management backed out, insisting that they are not available until November.
“This delay tactic is reminiscent of the months we’ve spent in bargaining. Chancellor Joseph I. Castro’s team is available only a few days each month, they show up unprepared, and frankly they have been wasting our time. Their proposals are designed to keep us haggling over takebacks, salary, and disrespectful counterproposals. They have everything to gain by drawing this out, and meanwhile our members haven’t seen a raise since 2019,” CFA President Charles Toombs said.
CFA has met with the chancellor’s labor team 23 times over 18 months and we remain too far apart on too many key issues to come to agreement at the table.
“Chancellor Castro refuses to offer a fair salary package and is only interested in paying lip service to social and racial justice even after all we’ve been through in the last year and half with the pandemic and confronting the ongoing inequities due to race and gender in this country,” said Nichelle Henderson, CFA Bargaining Team member and lecturer at Cal State Los Angeles.
Throughout those months of bargaining, CSU management’s team was consistent in two things: disrespect toward faculty and slow-rolling the process. While CFA’s team agreed to every Thursday and Friday all-day meetings we possibly could, the CSU’s team routinely offered only a handful of dates far in the future causing significant delays in negotiations.
Month after month, management delivered disrespectful proposals that ignored the needs of faculty and demonstrated how out of touch they are with what is happening on our campuses — if they responded to proposals at all. CFA waited six full months before receiving a response from the chancellor’s team on our proposal for range elevation for lecturers, rejecting any changes to current contract language that is dependent on in-range salary increases (also rejected by management). In other words, the CSU does not want or intend for long-term lecturers to be able to range elevate. Our academic freedom proposal, which was introduced October 23, 2020, never received a response nearly a year later. These are just some examples of the kind of delays that have been typical of the management team.
In this month of #Striketober, many faculty and allies are wondering why we are not on strike already. As a reminder, per Article 9 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, we legally cannot yet engage in a strike or concerted work action “that would interfere with or adversely affect the operation or the mission of the CSU.” We are required by law to complete the statutory process which includes mediation (the stage we are in now) followed by factfinding, if necessary, before faculty can go on a strike.
That does not mean we cannot discuss what is taking place in bargaining or the possibility of a work action in the future. In fact, discussing our campaign for a fair contract with our coworkers and students is one of the most important things we can do to support our campaign. When we fight together, we win, but we must be organized to do so.
We’ll update you on the proceedings of the first two mediation meetings in the early weeks of November. We will continue this process as efficiently as possible so we can secure the contract we deserve.