Cal. State Faculty, Allies March & Rally at the CSU Trustees meeting Nov. 17 for Fair Salaries for Faculty

November 18, 2015

LONG BEACH, CA – More than 1,000 faculty and their allies congregated in Long Beach yesterday, November 17, for a massive “Fight for Five” protest outside the California State University Board of Trustees’ meeting. 

As the marchers prepared to get underway a mile away, California Faculty Association members addressed the Trustees before a packed room of faculty, students, policymakers, and news media in addition to the Trustees, campus presidents, and many other CSU executives and administrators.

They explained their personal experiences and those of colleagues who teach on their campuses as a result of low pay—from loss of purchasing power to bankruptcies and living on food stamps. 

CFA President Jennifer Eagan, a professor at CSU East Bay, summed things up when she said to the Chancellor and Board of Trustees, “Ignoring us seems to have been your strategy so far, and it’s not working. We are your faculty. We’re not going away, and we’re not getting any less angry as time passes.” 

She continued, “We urge you to open your eyes, hear the voices outside, and respond to honor your faculty and avert a strike. It’s within your power.”

CFA has dubbed the push to improve faculty earnings as the “Fight for Five”—meaning a 5% General Salary Increase for all faculty. CSU management, however, refuses to budge from its offer of a 2% salary raise for faculty in the second year of the contract.

California State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, both ex-officio members of the CSU Board of Trustees, expressed a desire to resolve the contract fight and the need to unify for the sake of advocating for CSU state funding moving forward.

In a news release after the days events, Atkins reiterated that thought, writing:  “Stonewalling on needed and deserved salary increases for faculty will chip away at legislators’ confidence in the system, and maintaining that confidence is imperative as we fight to bring additional funding to CSU.”

While the Trustees met, hundreds of faculty, students, and community and labor allies embarked on a one-mile march through downtown Long Beach, culminating in a massive crowd outside the CSU Chancellor’s Office on Golden Shore in Long Beach where the Trustees regularly meet. The crowd grew as buses arrived from CSU campuses as far away as CSU Fresno and CSU Stanislaus.

Art Pulaski, Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO spoke about his support for the Fight For Five both inside to the Trustees and outside to the crowd gathered at the noon rally.

Pulaski stated, “On behalf of 2.1 million union members, we understand your plight. If you need to stop, put down your pens and pads and paper and get the attention you need, we will support you.”

Kevin Wehr, chair of the CFA Bargaining Team, said to the Trustees, and a professor at Sacramento State, said, “We don’t want to strike, but we can and we will. Your stubbornness has brought us to this place. … It’s time to give back to those who labor in the trenches. You have to invest in those who make the students succeed: the faculty and staff.”

Jen Ovalle, a student at CSU Dominguez Hills said students will support faculty because they need “teachers who can spend time with their students” and she said students have very little sympathy for Chancellor Tim White given that he “earns more than the President of the United States.”

State Assemblymember Roger Hernandez, chair of Assembly Labor and Employment, was among many elected officials who stated support for the Fight for Five in person at the rally, via letters to the Chancellor, and using social media. Hernandez tweeted “What you are asking for is fair. It’s righteous. #CFAFightFor5

The protest follows the faculty’s recent strike authorization vote, which resulted in a 94.4% percent vote in favor of a strike if contract negotiations with CSU management fail to result in a fair deal.

Faculty leaders talked about troubling hiring patterns that emphasize temporary teaching jobs over long periods of time, the impact of stagnant pay on faculty members’ own families, the impact on quality education for students, and the demoralizing misplaced priority on executive compensation. 

Learn more about the Nov 17 Fight for Five March & Rally at:

ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA FACULTY ASSOCIATION: CFA represents the more than 26,000 tenured and tenure-track instructional faculty, lecturers, librarians, counselors, and coaches on the 23 campuses of the California State University system, from Humboldt State in the north, to San Diego State in the south. Learn more about CFA at