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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

CFA members vote to strike if deal is not made

The CFA and CSU management fact-finding session ended Sunday
Created by Ariana Powell on Oct. 30.

California Faculty Association members have voted, with a 95% majority, to strike or take other job actions in the event a deal is not made with California State University management.

Other job actions include the “work-to-rule” action. This means faculty members would not do any extra work, or “invisible labor,” outside of the usual “9 to 5” hours.

“When we fight, we win!” is the rallying cry in an announcement video posted by the CFA. Multiple faculty members’ voices — including CFA President Charles Toombs — were heard throughout the video.

In the video and an email sent out to faculty, Toombs stated:

“Thousands of members are joining together to confront years of frustration created by management neglect and their disinvestment in students. This vote is a clear sign that our just cause will not be denied. We are willing to withhold our labor if CSU management continues to say no to investing their money where it matters — the people who are directly responsible for student learning and success.”

The CFA and CSU management fact-finding session ended on Sunday. Kevin Wehr, the CFA bargaining team chair, said the panel has indicated it could take several weeks to draft the report. The panel is composed of a representative from each side and a neutral third-party. 

Wehr also said neutral third-party arbitrators have a history of finding a middle ground, but they do not expect the report will be 100% in faculty members’ favor.

Once it is completed there will be a 10-day blackout period before it’s made public to the two organizations.

A strike can only occur if the statutory process — ending with the fact-finding session — does not result in a deal and faculty members’ “no-strike” clause in their contract is voided.

The type of strike that could occur is unknown, but Toombs said the Contract Development and Strategy Committee will meet and decide what would be the most strategic option. 

However, just because CFA members have voted to strike, it does not mean they actually will. If the CSU’s final offer is satisfactory, the CFA will not strike. If they do, Toombs said the strike will occur when it is legal and the most strategic.

Both Toombs and Wehr acknowledge that not all faculty members will strike and-or join the picket lines. Wehr said, however, he hopes all faculty members will act in solidarity.

“Not everyone has to join the picket line, but you do have to withhold your labor,” Toombs said. “There are gonna be so many of us [faculty members] who are gonna be comfortable, we will have our walking shoes on; but others will honor the strike by just not doing any work. And that works well too.”

Wehr said if faculty members strike, they will do so out of love because they have a commitment to students and want them to have the best resources available inside and out of the classroom.

“In order for us to deliver the best quality education we need to have the economic support the system needs to give us,” Wehr said. “We know that students are supporting us.”

The CFA continues to ask for a 12% general salary increase as well as a minimum salary floor increase for lower-paid faculty members. Other requests include:

  • Extended parental leave
  • An increase in counselors to improve students’ mental health
  • A class cap to reduce workload

All CFA and CSU management proposals and counterproposals can be found here.

The authorization vote took place from Oct. 21 to Oct. 27.

In response to the authorization vote results, the CSU has stated:

“The result of California Faculty Association’s (CFA) strike authorization vote is not unexpected.  The CSU remains committed to the collective bargaining process and reaching a negotiated agreement with the CFA as we have done with five of our other employee unions in recent weeks.”

In an email, Leora Freedman, the vice chancellor of human resources at the CSU Chancellor’s Office, said if a strike occurs, the CSU’s top priority will be to ensure minimal disruptions to student learning and campus services.

Timothy Sistrunk, the CFA Chico chapter president and Chico State lecturer, said the vote to strike is a strong response from union membership in support of doing what must be done to ensure the future of the CSU for all faculty, staff and students.

“This is the sound of thunder -the depth of our commitment to the people’s university.  The CFA represents some 29,000 faculty.  This is what we have said,” Sistrunk 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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