Monday, March 19, 2007

California State University Faculty Strike Looming - I don't want to strike, but I will!

San Francisco State and our California State University System is the largest system of higher education in the US with some 400,000 students and 46,000 faculty and staff spread out onto 23 campuses throughout our state. On Thursday we wrapped up a strike vote within our union that many predict will overwhelmingly authorize our union leadership to set strike dates throughout the state sometime in April.
Our students are taking the lead in building solidarity with faculty in support of a fair contract and our mutual opposition to the huge fee hikes just approved by the CSU Trustees on Wednesday. We are building stronger faculty/staff/student alliances to ensure a brighter future for our communities and the CSU system.

Voting by CFA members on whether to authorize a strike against the CSU administration continued yesterday, March 12, and runs through Thursday, March 15, on the Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, Northridge, San Francisco, San Jose and San Luis Obispo campuses.
These seven CFA chapters, which include some of the largest, supplement the 16 where voting concluded last week. The final vote tally will be announced next Wednesday, March 21.
To review, nearly two years of talks on a new collective bargaining agreement broke down over the summer. Chancellor Charles B. Reed has misrepresented both the size of the pay raise offered and the strings attached to it. Under the current offer, the salaries of CSU professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches would continue to lag seriously behind those at comparable institutions—this despite a consensus that the pay gap, documented by the California Postsecondary Education Commission, should be eliminated.
Throughout our impasse, the CSU administration and Trustees continue to hammer students with fee increases and hand out executive raises, perks and golden parachutes in a pattern that has sparked statewide citizen and media outrage.
For more context on the scandals within the top eshelons of the CSU systems and their pro-big business boosters - see the site. See also info on SF State grad and now State Senator Leland Yee's efforts to bring sunshine into the CSU decision-making process.
On Wednesday we [CFA] will announce the outcome of the strike vote. We have spent the last 22 months negotiating for a labor agreement with the CSU Administration and has not been able to reach a labor agreement. According to the California Postsecondary Education Commission, the CSU faculty is paid 18% less than comparable institution salaries around the country. Since 2002, faculty salaries have remained stagnant while the Administration has raised its own salary 23%.

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