If you’re new to the CSU faculty, welcome!
Many new faculty have begun the fall term receiving news that CFA and CSU management are at impasse in negotiations. “Impasse” is one step in the bargaining process, as outlined by the statute, HEERA, the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act, which covers employer-employee labor relations for the California State University and the University of California systems.
While hearing that CFA, our faculty union, is at impasse in negotiations with management might be surprising or even unsettling to newcomers among the CSU faculty, we have been through this process many times. Faculty rights and the conditions under which we teach, coach, counsel, and guide student learning in the library continue to be protected by our 2022-2024 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
For example, we have received excellent questions from new faculty – both lecturers and assistant professors – related to the “possible work stoppage” language the CFA is sharing with faculty for use in our syllabi and online learning management systems (e.g. Canvas, Blackboard, etc.), which can be found here, in both English y español. Lecturers are asking, “If I put this ‘possible work stoppage’ language in my syllabus, will I get classes in the following term?” Assistant professors similarly are asking, “If I put this ‘possible work stoppage’ language in my syllabus, will it impact how I am evaluated, and thus, my path to tenure and promotion?”
These are excellent and understandable questions.
The preamble to the Collective Bargaining Agreement recognizes faculty rights to academic freedom. It states that, “The parties recognize that quality education requires an atmosphere of academic freedom and academic responsibility.” Including language about possible interruptions to the regular course schedule outlined in our syllabi is both an expression of our academic freedom as well as of academic responsibility. We decide (academic freedom) how we can best keep students well-informed of possible alterations to our courses (academic responsibility).
For the new lecturer who wants to make sure you’re assigned classes in subsequent terms, your appointment rights are outlined in Article 12, which is worth reviewing if you are new to the CSU. You might especially wish to review Article 12.29, which outlines “Preference for Available Temporary Work.”
For the new assistant professor (and the new lecturer as well!) who wants to be assured of a fair evaluation in your first years in the CSU, your evaluation rights are outlined in Article 15, where you’ll note that evaluations involve a clearly outlined due process (involving both peer review and rebuttal rights) and cannot be violated based on a “possible work stoppage” message you might include in your syllabus.
If you’re new to the CSU and you have questions about your appointment, your evaluations, or anything involving your rights and working conditions, reach out to your CFA chapter leaders. Consultations with faculty rights representatives are always confidential, and all questions are welcome – as are you!
Want to learn more? Become active with your local CFA chapter Faculty Rights team. Find your representative here.