As negotiations progress on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the CSU’s 29,000 faculty, we continue to meet members of the CFA Bargaining Team. We’ll be highlighting a few members each week for the rest of the term.
This week, Margarita Berta-Ávila, Jennifer Eagen, Antonio Gallo, and Kelly Janousek share their goals for bargaining and their thoughts on CSU management’s proposals.
Professor of education at Sacramento State
Years with CSU: 20
CFA roles: Associate Vice President, North; Sacramento chapter President
Her first time on the Bargaining Team, Margarita Berta-Ávila is focused on addressing the realities experienced by CSU faculty – especially those based on race, gender, class, and gender identity – in CFA’s next Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
“What I have noticed for sure is that at CFA and representing its members, we come in prepared. We go above and beyond to make sure that what we are presenting as proposals are thorough, that they reflect the needs and concerns of the faculty,” she said.
“What has been, I think, disappointing has been the preparation of the CSU Labor Relations Team. It appears that they come with little to no preparation, and it appears that (their) proposals … look to really take away rights of faculty and really look to penalize faculty.”
Professor of philosophy and public affairs & administration at CSU East Bay
Years with CSU: 21
CFA roles: immediate Past President of CFA; East Bay chapter Faculty Rights Committee Chair
Jennifer Eagan has been on the CFA Bargaining Team since 2010 and remembers challenges faced by the team to enhance the CBA each round. This time, she’s advocating for more job security, tenure density, and racial and social justice at the CSU.
“Some really key things in this contract campaign I think will be job stability for lecturers. I think that’s really critical. Our tenure density has been going in the wrong direction for a very long time, and that has come at the expense of a lack of willingness to commit to employees on the part of the CSU,” Eagan said. “And we would like for the faculty to be able to count on those positions so that the students can count on them.
“And we’ve lived with this two-tier, two-caste system of tenure-line faculty and lecturer faculty existing with different rights and different sets of responsibilities, even though they’re doing the same job,” she added.
Eagan isn’t sure how to interpret the CSU management team’s approach to the bargaining table, but says their tone is excessively casual.
“They’re not taking our proposals seriously. At least not yet,” she said.
Chicano Studies lecturer at CSU Northridge
Years with CSU: 19
CFA roles: Chair of the Contract Development and Bargaining Strategy Committee; Northridge chapter lecturer representative and Faculty Rights Committee Chair
The Bargaining Team is “where the action is and where you can make the most change” when it comes to faculty working conditions and student learning conditions. That’s precisely why Antonio Gallo volunteered.
“My goal for bargaining is to get the best contract that we can get that reflects the working conditions of the faculty, the student conditions in the CSU, especially for students of color,” he said.
Though the academic year is almost over, there will be plenty of work for the Bargaining Team and members next school year to flex faculty strength and achieve a strong CBA.
Librarian at CSU Long Beach
Years with CSU: 33
CFA roles: Long Beach chapter Faculty Rights Committee chair
A librarian by trade, Kelly Janousek also participates in a lot of faculty rights work on behalf of CFA members. Her vast experience participating in faculty grievances made her a good fit for the team.
“I know what works in the contract and what doesn’t,” she said.
Though this is her third time negotiating a CFA CBA, Janousek continues to be disappointed with CSU management’s approach at the Zoom bargaining table.
“It feels a little like they’re not thinking through what they want to argue to change. It’s just like ‘we want to change it.’ and ‘the reason why?’ and they can’t always answer that. And that’s frustrating because you want to make sure you have a management leadership on the CSU side that has thought about what the problems are and what they need to address. Just like the CFA Bargaining Team has sat through many hours of thinking through the problems and thinking what the issue is and is there any way we can address it,” she said.
Visit www.CFAbargaining.org for updates on negotiations and to read proposals from CFA and the CSU.