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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

From proposals to picket lines: faculty prepare for week-long strike

Administration and the CFA Chico chapter are preparing the university for the January strike
California Faculty Association members gather during the one-day strikes at participating universities. Courtesy: CFA

The California Faculty Association will continue their plans to strike the first week of the semester after bargaining sessions with California State University management did not result in an agreement.

On Jan. 8, the CFA presented the CSU management bargaining team with four proposals, which include the following requests:

  • Institute a course cap
  • Change the counselor-student ratio to 1:1,000-1,500
  • Increase parental leave to one semester, or two quarters
  • A 12% general salary increase
  • Increase the salary floor for lower-paid faculty members

To read all proposals and counterproposals, go here.

The CFA President Charles Toombs said on Jan. 8 the CSU management bargaining team threatened systemwide layoffs, walked out of bargaining, canceled remaining negotiations and presented their best and final offer.

Administration and the CFA Chico chapter are preparing the university for the strike.

The Teamsters Local 2010 — a union that represents CSU skilled trade workers — will no longer strike alongside the CFA as they’ve reached an agreement with the CSU as of Friday. More information can be found here.

CFA Chico chapter president, Timothy Sistrunk, said picketing will be split into afternoon and evening shifts, Monday through Friday. Each day at noon, participating faculty members will gather to discuss the plans for the day and any other important information.

Faculty members, students, community members and others interested in striking and joining the picket lines are asked to fill out this CFA systemwide strike registration form

The CFA encourages students not to cross the picket lines and avoid campus to withhold the money paid toward parking spots, food and drinks. Student strike FAQs can be found here and faculty strike FAQs can be found here.

Chico State president, Steve Perez, sent a university-wide email informing students of the strike and reminding them to keep an eye on their emails to see whether their professors will be striking or not.

Perez also encouraged reporting a canceled class or student service via a link to a form — an action Sistrunk said was sad. The full statement can be found here.

Certain Chico State campus operations — such as The Well, Meriam Library, the Wildcat Recreation Center and Bell Memorial Union — will continue as usual.

Multiple events will take place the first week of the semester.

“While labor actions may pose challenges for everyone involved, our commitment to our students and colleagues remains unchanged,” Andrew Staples, Chico State’s public relations manager, said.

Staples said Perez will be on campus during the strike working his normal schedule which includes “interacting with faculty, staff and students.”

Systemwide, the CSU said there are contingency plans in place to “maintain operations and minimize disruptions to ensure the strike poses no hardship on our students.”

The CFA and CSU said the week-long strike should not impact students’ grades or graduation status. 

Students and other union members are encouraged to join the picket lines, Sistrunk said. He is confident the strike will make a difference.

“I hope that the Chancellor’s Office does not remain tone deaf and that they realize that nobody wants this type of disruption,” Sistrunk said. “We want to teach and students want to learn and pursue.”

If CSU management does not respond with an offer prior to, during or after the strike, Sistrunk said the union will stop, determine its next step and vote on it.

Salary increase has been one of the requests sparking the most controversy.

Sistrunk said the CSU has thousands in reserves, which was determined through an independent external financial analysis by Howard Bunsis in 2023.

The CSU said the CFA’s 12% GSI request “is not financially viable and would result in massive cuts to the system and jeopardize the CSU’s educational mission.” 

“A 12% salary increase across all faculty would cost CSU approximately $380 million in the first year alone and recurring thereafter,” the CSU said. “This is $150 million more than the CSU’s entire funding increase from the State of California in 2023-24.” 

The CSU has moved forward to provide a 5% GSI to faculty, effective Jan. 31, the CSU said. The proposal was not accepted by the CFA, Sistrunk said, and the CFA will continue to ask for a 12% GSI.

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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