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The Orion

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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

One step closer to possible CSU faculty strike; CFA enters fact-finding session

The California Faculty Association and California State University management are waiting for instructions on when the fact-finding session will begin
Created by Ariana Powell on Sept. 19.

Faculty members across all California State Universities could be one step closer to a strike as collective bargaining mediation between the California Faculty Association and CSU management did not reach a contract compromise.

On Thursday, the state-appointed third-party released the two organizations to a fact-finding session

This means a three-person panel — one appointed by the CFA, a second by CSU management and a third by a third-party — will look at the facts from both sides and comprise a report dictating what could be the best course of action.

However, this report is not binding and instead “is meant to exert the power of public opinion on the sides to each argument,” according to the statement released by a CFA.

As of Monday, the CSU and CFA are awaiting instructions from the Public Employment Relations Board on when the fact-finding will begin, according to Hazel Kelly, the CSU’s strategic communications and public affairs manager.

The two organizations went into mediation after an impasse was filed and approved by the PERB.

Going to a fact-finding session, according to Lindsay Briggs, Chico State professor and CFA Chico chapter faculty rights co-chair, is a good second-place alternative.

“Faculty aren’t afraid of facts; we deal with evidence-based work everyday in our classrooms,” Briggs said. “I, for one, am excited for independent fact-finders to give us the truth on how much our proposals will cost and whether or not the CSU can afford it.”

The CFA said in the statement they will continue to demand a 12% general salary increase and a minimum salary floor increase for lecturers and other lower paid faculty to keep up with the rising cost of living.

Additionally, the CFA has filed an unfair practice charge based on “the CSU’s failure to provide timely financial information that is relevant to the CSU’s claim that it cannot afford CFA’s bargaining proposals.”

Specifically, the CFA said the CSU will not release multiple documents including the revenue, expenses and changes in net assets statement for the fiscal year ending June 20, 2023 and the 2022-23 system human resources report.

Kelly told The Orion the CSU is continuing to gather information requested by the CFA and has already provided some documents.

“When a request is voluminous, the CSU often provides information to requesting parties in phases,” Kelly said.

The CFA also spoke out about the approval of the multi-year tuition proposal on Wednesday.

“We are in solidarity with students and assert that the CSU trustees’ vote for a 34-percent increase in tuition by 2028-29 is a cruel and unnecessary move that will make the CSU unaffordable, especially for those who identify as Black, brown, immigrant, low-income and-or first-generation college students,” CFA representatives said.

The entire CFA response to the tuition raise can be found here.

Briggs also said despite the pleas from students living on the margins, trustees voted to raise tuition fees claiming they don’t have any other choice.

According to the CFA, they are always willing to meet with management the moment they let them know they are ready to have a “real conversation.”

“A university can operate with very few administrators; it cannot operate without students, staff, and faculty who do the boots on the ground work every single day,” Briggs said. 

Some other CFA demands are as follows:

  1. Extend the current 30-day paid parental leave to span an entire semester; see related proposal here
  2. Provide safe restrooms for LGBTQ+ faculty; see related proposal here
  3. Provide a representative in the event a law enforcement officer demands an interview, and officers must leave their guns outside of the interview spaces; see related proposal here
  4. Set counselor-to-student ratios to 1:1,500 to improve student access to mental health services; see related proposal here
  5. Set a minimum course cap to reduce work overload; see related proposal here

Among others, all CFA and CSU management proposals and counterproposals can be found here.

The CFA and CSU management negotiate contracts every three years and the faculty’s contracts expired in July. According to Timothy Sistrunk, Chico State professor and CFA Chico chapter president, the two organizations go to fact-finding almost every bargaining session.

In the event of a strike, Kelly said the CSU will remain committed to students and their academic mission and that campuses will work to make sure students are impacted as little as possible.

To read the entire CFA statement sent out on Monday, go here.

“The University [Chico State] is hoping CFA-represented employees and the CSU Office of the Chancellor reach a fair agreement that avoids significant negative impacts to our students and our workforce,” Chico State President Steve Perez said.

Ariana Powell can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Ariana Powell
Ariana Powell, Editor-in-Chief
Ariana Powell is in her fourth year at Chico State as a media arts (criticism) and journalism (news) double-major. Now in her fourth semester on The Orion and having assumed the editor-in-chief position, she is prepared to continue helping upcoming journalists and endeavors to continue building her repertoire of multimedia and writing skills. In her free time, she enjoys writing, watching and analyzing films, reading and spending time with her loved ones.

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