Education

CSU faculty prepare for potential strike this spring

Faculty from campuses all over California, are joined by students, during a rally outside the California State University Board of Trustees meeting at the Chancellor's office in Long Beach, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015. The faculty are demanding a 5% general salary increase, following a 94.4% strike authorization vote announcement on Nov. 4, 2015. CSU management is offering a 2% salary increase for faculty in the second year of the contract. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Faculty from campuses all over California, are joined by students, during a rally outside the California State University Board of Trustees meeting at the Chancellor's office in Long Beach, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015. The faculty are demanding a 5% general salary increase, following a 94.4% strike authorization vote announcement on Nov. 4, 2015. CSU management is offering a 2% salary increase for faculty in the second year of the contract. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Nick Ut/AP

A strike has been looming for the California State University system for the past few months, and now the dates for a potential picket are set.

The California Faculty Association — the university's faculty union — announced this weekend that it would strike in April for five days across all 23 campuses unless an agreement is reached beforehand.

The strikes would take place from April 13 to 15 and April 18 t0 19.

The union first voted to authorize a strike in November if contract negotiations for a 5 percent raise were unsuccessful. It's February, and the CSU management is still offering only 2 percent raises.

Raises have been a long time in coming, according to CFA President Jennifer Eagan, who is also a professor of philosophy and public affairs and administration at Cal State East Bay.

“Our strike plan reflects how motivated and how angry the faculty are at the lack of ability to secure a reasonable salary,” Eagan told KPCC. 

Eagan told KPCC that the fight is also about the "disinvestment in education." She said that more tenure-track faculty need to be hired, rather than a continued dependence upon part-time faculty.

Several entities, including the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, have announced their support for a CFA strike, and Eagan said along with these allies, faculty expect abundant student support.

“We have a lot of students who really understand that our situation is connected to theirs," Eagan said. "This is the same administration that is intent on raising their fees, raising their class sizes and reducing their services for other funding priorities." 

In a statement responding to the announcement Monday, the university said campuses will remain open during the strike if it occurs:

“The California Faculty Association has announced dates for a potential strike in April. The collective bargaining process continues, and a strike cannot be conducted until the end of the process.  The California State University remains committed to reaching a resolution. Campuses are preparing for the possibility of a strike. If a strike occurs, campuses intend to remain open.  Many classes will be offered, and students should check with their instructors regarding the status of their classes. The strike should not interfere with students being able to complete their semester and quarter courses and graduate on time.”

The talks are now at the fact-finding stage required by law. Kevin Wehr, chair of the union's collective bargaining team, explained to KPCC in January that this means a neutral third party hears both sides and releases a report. Once the report is made public, the faculty is legally able to strike.

The union anticipates that during the strike, faculty at all 23 campuses will honor the picket line, Eagan said.