CFA members, students bring the countdown to the CSU Trustees meeting

As a crowd of faculty and supporters looked on, six CFA members addressed the CSU Trustees this morning to explain why a fair contract is important not only to themselves and their families but also to the quality of the education their students get.

Andy Merrifield, chair of the CFA Bargaining Team, reminded the board about the 100-Day Contract Countdown and introduced the members during the open comment period of the Trustees’ Collective Bargaining Committee.

Elaine Bernal, an organic chemistry lecturer at Long Beach, said “It has become increasingly difficult to provide for my family with rising health premiums and taking care of my 8 year old’s chronic asthma, and continue to give excellent service to my students because our research, laboratory, and teaching spaces simply cannot meet the demand of students who want to be future doctors, dentists, engineers, and scientists that contribute to the underserved communities that they grew up in.”  

Jamil Momand, a professor of biochemistry at Cal State LA, told trustees that until 2009, he received fair compensation and had time to train students, which is part of their necessary lab work. Now, he’s asked to fill out a volunteer form for doing the independent study work with students.

“I care for my students, but I simply don’t have time to train students and teach three large traditional classes at the same time,” Momand said. “I believe with my heart and soul that the lack of proper compensation is causing faculty like me to lose the opportunity to train students. I believe this will result in weakening California’s educated workforce.”

“These faculty members’ personal and professional experiences regarding salary and work expectations over the past six years reflect the experience of a wide swath of CSU faculty at all of the 23 campuses,” said Merrifield after the meeting.

“I hope testimony like this helps the Trustees understand our commitment and the years of difficulties we have been up against.”

Gov. Jerry Brown and Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, both ex-oficio CSU Trustees, were among the Trustees present.