We are an anti-racism and social justice union of 29,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors, and coaches who teach and provide services to the California State University system’s 485,000 students on all 23 CSU campuses. Throughout 2023, we are bargaining with CSU management on selected portions of our contract (Articles 20, 23, 31, and 37). During this “re-opener bargaining,” we are negotiating for community well-being, safety on campus, appropriate workload, adequate and humane paid parental leave, and wages that keep pace with the cost of living and set a livable minimum standard for our lowest paid faculty. We are fighting against management’s self-defeating austerity policies that serve to shift funding away from classrooms, labs, libraries, athletics, and counseling centers. Stay up-to-date on re-opener bargaining at www.CFAbargaining.org.
If factfinding concludes without an agreement, the CFA Board of Directors has voted to initiate a strike. We cannot legally go on strike until the factfinding report has been issued and a 10-day blackout period has passed.
Initially, there will be a one-day strike on four campuses.
December 4, Cal Poly Pomona
December 5, San Francisco State
December 6, CSU Los Angeles
December 7, Sacramento State
If we have to take additional strike dates, we will let you know.
We expect that all campuses may have to go on strike to get a fair contract. But as we did in 2011, If CSU management continues to refuse to agree to the contract we deserve, we will escalate as needed. These campuses were selected to lead our efforts to get the best contract possible for members by engaging in actions, pickets, and various solidarity events. We want faculty from all of the campuses to join us on the strike lines, and your chapter leadership will reach out to ask you to travel to a campus in your region to let CSU Management know that we are fed up with their disinvestment in faculty and students.
It means that we refrain from teaching and any other work we would normally do for the CSU on the day(s) of the strike, and we would organize picket lines and rallies on the campus(es). Educators on strike do not grade, answer work emails, or perform other faculty work. The withholding of labor includes all in-person and virtual work.
It is important to tell students the dates of the strike and to explain why you are going on strike. Each faculty member will, of course, make a personal decision communicating with students. Many faculty members may also want to invite students to join them on the picket line. If this is your choice, you must emphasize to students that joining the picket line is entirely voluntary.
The vast majority of students understand our situation and how it relates to them. We anticipate that many will be out on the picket line with us. Going on strike is an opportunity to demonstrate for our students what collective action for justice looks like. We are setting an example for our students that shows how to protect education and the profession that we all love and have fought for over many years.
When members went on strike in 2011, the students supported us. Students are already harmed by debt, high fees, and fewer faculty available to help them. Students are hurt by the underinvestment in faculty and staff.
We have received so much encouragement from students. For example, Sacramento State University’s Associated Students issued a resolution in support of us declaring that, “CFA is bargaining for better pay and working conditions for all CSU faculty, particularly to lift up our most vulnerable faculty and address long-standing racial, gender, and social inequities by negotiating for community well-being, safety on campus, adequate mental health resources for students, adequate and humane paid parental leave, and wages that keep pace with the cost of living and set a livable minimum standard for our lowest paid faculty.” One of the resolves in its resolution calls on “management to meet CFA contract demands to ensure our students receive the quality education they deserve.”
The real issue is, will this university management prioritize us, the students and faculty, or will they continue to bleed dollars for pet projects, extraneous management, and perks for executives?
We are bargaining to increase salaries by 12% for ALL faculty, and ensuring pay equity by raising the salary floor for the lowest-paid faculty in Range A by $10,000, which will increase the minimum full-time academic year base salary to be no less than $64,360, and in Range B by $5,000, which will increase the minimum full-time academic year base salary to no less than $69,860 (this moves everyone in those ranges upwards and applies to corresponding coach, counselor, and librarian classifications, and tenure-track professors). We are bargaining to implement minimum course cap standards to address workload creep, and to set counselor-to-student staffing ratios at 1:1,000 to 1:1,500 to improve student access to mental health services. We want to improve campus safety and community wellbeing, particularly for marginalized faculty, students, and staff, by limiting the imposition of police power, which includes ending the practice of dispatching police on faculty unless required by law; as well as to provide CSU employees with the opportunity for union representation or legal counsel when being interviewed by campus police and the dignity of being interviewed in a private location with officers who are unarmed. We want to provide safe gender-inclusive restrooms and changing rooms for queer and transgender faculty as well as designated lactation spaces and milk storage for nursing parents on all campuses. We want to expand paid parental leave from 30 days to one semester/term. See our proposals. See the contract.
CSU faculty have been falling behind other public employees, other professions, and other educators in California. CSU management has refused to address pay for the lowest compensated faculty, refused all workload proposals, refused to address expanding parental leave, and refused to address faculty safety on campus.
Earlier this year, we surveyed all CFA members about bargaining priorities for salaries, workload, parental leave, and health and safety, and the survey results are the primary source of information informing CFA’s bargaining proposals. We held faculty meetings on all campuses so that the bargaining team was sure to hear directly and in person about needs and priorities. We also researched other educational institutions in California and nationally and analyzed the CSU operating budget and reserves. Using all the available information at their disposal, the bargaining team, CDBS, and other CFA leaders from around the state collectively drafted our bargaining proposals.
CSU management says they can’t afford our re-opener proposals, but an independent external fiscal analysis shows otherwise. The CSU has been hoarding billions of dollars in reserves instead of investing in faculty and staff who work directly with our students.
While we are still waiting for the results of the factfinding report, we want to be prepared to go on strike in case we get to the end of the process without an agreement. We want to be well-prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to fight for a fair and equitable contract.
Yes, once the “statutory bargaining process” spelled out in the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA) is complete (i.e., when the factfinding report becomes public).
You would still need to perform your normal job duties on that day. If you’re able to join the picket line, look out for communications from your CFA chapter on how to get involved.
Having the most compelling facts and the strongest arguments is not enough to persuade stubborn administrators. Management knows how hard faculty work. Management knows that inflations has outpaced faculty raises. Management knows that parents sacrifice their families and their own lives and wellbeing with limited parental leave. Management knows about Black and Brown faculty being profiled by campus police. Management knows the benefits and salaries of faculty in comparable institutions.
Workers around the country have had to prove their worth the hard way – by going on strike.
CFA will ask every CSU faculty member to refrain from teaching and all other work they normally do on the day(s) of the strike. CFA also will ask all faculty to join the picket lines and rallies that will be underway on the campuses. The presence of large numbers of faculty would be the best way to send a strong message to the chancellor.
No. If a legal strike were called, it would be unlawful for the administration to attempt to dismiss or discipline any faculty member for participating. It is a violation of state law to attempt to dismiss or discipline a faculty member for exercising the right to participate in a lawful job action such as a strike. CFA advocates on staff, on retainer, and from our national affiliates would assist any individual or groups experiencing a negative outcome as a result of lawful job actions.
Yes. The CSU is entitled to dock the pay of striking faculty. If you are asked to report your plans to go on strike, please let us know right away by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We will not tolerate any management action that is intended to interfere with union rights.
No. If you participate in a strike that has been called on your campus, you must cancel all your classes and refrain from performing any of your job duties in order to be protected from discipline. You may not choose some job duties to perform; there is no right to engage in a “partial strike.”
For example, your strike activity would not be protected from possible discipline if you canceled a class in the morning but taught another class, held office hours, or attended a committee meeting in the afternoon.
Reading and writing emails are parts of your job duties, so you must refrain from performing your job duties during a strike. You may use an out-‐of-‐office message, such as “I am on strike for fair pay and quality education. Join us on the picket line.” Some faculty have asked about dismantling or suspending their learning platforms, and we do not recommend doing so. Feel free to reach out to email@example.com if you have any questions about what it means to go on strike.
If you take paid leave of any kind, you are not on strike. It is your choice to request such a leave. Can you do that and still be on strike? No. In fact, when people go on strike, they do not call in or report to management the fact that they are on strike.
Yes, especially if you hope that your students will be ready for final exams and projects. However, you should not be sending assignments or collecting assignments when you are on strike.
Like all faculty, coaches would refrain from working during a strike. Like many professional athletes, CSU coaches are unionized. Management would like nothing better than to create division in the faculty ranks by pressuring coaches to cross a picket line. Again, we will protect ALL members who face pressure to refrain from the legal right to engage in concerted action.
Like all faculty, counselors would withhold their labor in the event of a strike. Like nurses and other healthcare providers, counselors want to be sure that those in their care do not suffer in the event of a strike. We will make sure that students know to call 911 or seek emergency services just as they would when counseling services are closed.
Like all faculty, librarians would withhold their labor in the event of a strike
Yes. Department Chairs are part of Unit 3, and the work they perform is Unit 3 work. When we go on strike, all unit members including department chairs will go on strike.
CFA does not have a strike fund that would make up for lost salary if management docks pay during a strike, very few unions do.
We must be prepared for the chancellor and, perhaps, other administrators to try to weaken the faculty’s resolve by instilling fear, creating anxiety and encouraging faculty to cross the picket line. In 2011, shortly before the strike at Dominguez Hills and East Bay, the chancellor declared no faculty member would participate. He was wrong.
Management may try to demoralize faculty in advance of the strike by suggesting it will be ineffective in achieving our goals, will diminish the stature of the faculty, will harm students (see question above), or tarnish the image of the university. In fact, we are hearing some of this now.
The fact is, if we strike, it would be to protect the faculty and our families, to ensure our ability to continue to serve our students, and to protect our students who need faculty to help them succeed.
Management knows that this strike is about more than money. We need to remember that our ability to provide students with quality education depends on our success at recruiting and retaining our faculty. As some faculty have said, “show us how you spend your money, and we will show you what you really care about.” We must remember that FACULTY WORKING CONDITIONS ARE STUDENT LEARNING CONDITIONS.
Some of the other unions in the CSU have settled their contracts. It is possible that they may get whatever the faculty get, but that is not something that is a subject of CFA’s negotiations with CSU management.
CFA has gotten “strike sanction” from labor councils throughout California. “Strike sanction” means that union members affiliated with that labor council won’t cross our picket lines. Delivery workers won’t deliver mail or packages to campus mailrooms, public buses will not enter campus, and construction workers will cease building. We appreciate the strong support offered to us by our union colleagues throughout the state.
Many members of the California State Legislature have signed on to a letter to Chancellor Garcia calling on her to come to agreement with CFA soon.
Yes. And we will text, call, and email to let you know.
Absolutely. Any agreement will be ratified by the members. CFA’s Board of Directors will call for a ratification vote when a new tentative agreement is reached. Voting on contract ratification is an important right of CFA members, and you must be a member to vote. CFA’s Board of Directors hopes that you will vote, if and when the time comes. We will also take the opportunity to sign up new members so that they may vote as well.