News Release

California State University faculty to vote on historic strike
In the midst of stalled contract negotiations, California Faculty Association Board of Directors authorizes vote of members on possible faculty strike over attempts to weaken quality of education on CSU campuses

For Immediate Release – February 22, 2012

Sacramento, CA — After eighteen months of trying to reach a labor agreement with the administration of the California State University, the Board of Directors of the California Faculty Association (CFA) unanimously decided last night to authorize a vote of its members on whether or not there should be a faculty strike.

If faculty members vote in favor of the action, it will be the largest strike of higher education teachers in U.S. history.

CFA president Lillian Taiz, a professor of history at Cal State Los Angeles said, “We have said all along that we do not want to strike, but we will if that is what is necessary to ensure that we can provide quality education to our students.”

She continued, “If we cannot find some way to get a deal done that is in the best interest of the university we have to be prepared to take the next step. Now more than ever, we must stand firm in rejecting a contract that would allow for the creation of a lower-quality CSU for our students, a diminished role for faculty in it, and a degraded institution for the state.”

This will be the second time that CSU faculty have taken a strike vote in the past four months. The last vote addressed unresolved issues in the now expired contract. That vote was followed by massive one-day strikes at CSU East Bay and Dominguez Hills on November 17 that shut down those campuses.

The new vote – which will be held in mid-April – concerns current attempts by CSU Administration to move the CSU towards a “for-profit model” that is currently the subject of much public scrutiny.

Per the Board resolution, these job actions would likely take the form of a series of two-day rolling strikes across all 23 campuses.

The faculty action occurs at a time when the CSU Management has faced a barrage of criticism for ever-rising student fee hikes and tone-deaf executive pay increases.

The voting on whether or not to strike will take place on campuses between April 16 and April 27 and will be conducted on site at the faculty’s respective campuses and by an electronic online mechanism. Results of the voting will be announced shortly thereafter. To approve job actions, a majority of CFA members must vote in favor (50% plus 1).

Some of the key “takeaways” from the Chancellor that prompted the strike vote:

  • Moving more classes in the CSU’s For-Profit arms while paying faculty less to teach them. The Chancellor seeks to move more classes into Extended Education/Continuing Education and he wants to pay faculty less than they earn to teach the same class in regular sessions. Students pay more to attend these so-called “extension” courses.
  •  Increases in class sizes. Appropriate class sizes are a key element in providing quality education. The Chancellor has rejected a plan that would recognize the crucial role of the faculty Academic Senates in determining appropriate class limits for courses taught at each campus.
  • Nothing now and less later with salary and benefits. No salary increases for 2010/11 and 2011/12, with the possibility of reopeners where the Chancellor could reduce current wages and benefits in the future. Making it more and more difficult to attract and retain the best professors.

Click here to view the strike-vote resolution passed by the CFA Board.