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Thousands of letters delivered to campus presidents
Starting Tuesday at Sonoma, San Marcos and San Francisco, continuing Wednesday on 18 campuses and finishing Thursday at Dominguez Hills and San Luis Obispo, CFA chapters on every California State University campus took action to voice our call—It’s Time for a Fair Contract!
From marches, rallies, bake sales, and chanting brigades, to a carnival and informational picket lines, all in support of the CFA Bargaining Team, the activities varied but we were united in declaring “Faculty Working Conditions Are Student Learning Conditions.”
In the course of the campus actions, thousands of faculty letters were delivered to campus presidents describing specific problems with salaries and workload on the respective campuses, as well as the overall need for fair pay and rational working conditions.
EXPRESSING OUR VOICE
Andy Merrifield, who chairs CFA’s Bargaining Team, deeply appreciates the participation of faculty members on every campus who were at these public events.
“Our willingness to express ourselves openly on the campus is a key component to getting a fair contract,” he said. “We are in this together – the Bargaining Team, which is composed mostly of faculty members from all over the system, and our faculty colleagues on the campuses.”
“All of us on CFA’s Bargaining Team hope that what we, the faculty, have done this week shows CSU management that we are serious —not just about settling a contract, but about settling a fair contract that will restart the process of making the California State University into a good place to teach and a good place to learn.”
CONNECTING CONTRACT TALKS WITH OUR CAMPUSES
Charles Toombs serves as San Diego State CFA Chapter President and on the CFA Bargaining Team.
“The major significance of the events this week,” he said, “is that they absolutely tied our bargaining issues to our respective campus presidents. Getting—and protecting—a fair contract is not only a system-wide problem; it involves our campuses, too.”
He added, “The letters we delivered to the campus presidents were localized to the issues on each campus. It is important for the campus presidents to see our concerns, and to identify how each campus president can help.”
Toombs was impressed by the variety of activities faculty devised for the October actions. They showed that “we can be creative and be unified at the same time; unity is so important to our effort,” he said.
LIFTING SPIRITS ABOUT SERIOUS PROBLEMS
Jennifer Eagan, who is CFA Chapter president at East Bay and a Bargaining Team member, points out, “The faculty on our campus are familiar with our own salary issues, but we feel the administrators are not. We were very disappointed about the failure to implement the Equity 3 program (to address salary inversion and compression).
“So on our campus, we decided to hold a carnival, with games that depict issues that are serious in a way that could lift our faculty spirits. It was a fun way to challenge tough issues.”
She said, “All over the CSU, the actions this week communicated what we the faculty painfully know— that we have been meeting the budgetary challenges and we expect management to come to us to meet responsibilities to us, too.”
She added, “This state university system needs to come to grips with the fact that it’s going to lose good faculty members, and that the quality of a CSU education will be damaged if we do not get a fair contract.”
ENERGIZING OURSELVES FOR WHATEVER IS AHEAD
Kevin Wehr serves both as president of the Sacramento CFA chapter and on the Bargaining Team.
He said, “The actions over the last three days were a much needed shot in the arm to energize ourselves, create buzz and get engaged in the critical issues around workload and salary.”
It worked. At his own campus, “We had about 100 people staffing the table and signing an open letter to president Gonzalez. We walked over to his office to deliver 240 letters. He was ‘in a meeting’ and unavailable to talk about salary inversion and compression—the Experience Penalties that on our campus are extreme problems.
He said, “Still, he won’t miss the strong message that the faculty are engaged and support the CFA Bargaining Team.”
BARGAINING: Fresh off the campus action, CFA’s Bargaining Team will meet again with the Chancellor’s representatives next Monday and Tuesday, October 13-14. CFA members will be updated by email; everyone can view an update in the regular CFA Headlines on Wednesday.
NOV. 4 ELECTION: Even while the contract talks continue, CFA members and supporters take to the campaigns this month for candidates for state office in the election on November 4.
CFA chapters and leaders interview candidates for state Assembly, Senate and statewide offices about their ideas about Quality Public Higher Education and recommend them to the CFA Board for endorsements.
Vote-by-Mail ballots were sent to voters on October 6. Please remember to vote for CFA-endorsed candidates.
CFA President Lillian Taiz said, “We need to take the energy we have generated this month and apply it to making sure we have people in the legislature who understand the need to fund our public higher education system. I urge you to participate in these campaigns.”
Contact your campus CFA Chapter to learn about times you can join with other colleagues to walk precincts and make phone calls to support the endorsed candidates.
NOVEMBER 13: While we all hope the contract talks will reach a settlement soon—we all know It’s Time for a Fair Contract!—we also must prepare for the next opportunity to assert the faculty’s voice.
Two actions are scheduled on November 13; please mark your calendar:
Southern California: Join your colleagues at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach. 8 am to 1 pm, CSU Chancellor’s Office, 401 Golden Shore, Long Beach
Northern California: Converge from other campuses at Sacramento State for a rally at the Administration Building. Noon, 6000 J Street, Sacramento