Cal State Faculty Vote for Possible Strike
Twenty-four thousand California State University employees are beginning a two-week vote on Monday on whether to authorize their union to declare a strike.
Members of the California Faculty Association failed to negotiate a new contract after 22 months. The CFA represents professors, librarians, coaches and counselors across the system's 23 campuses.
Many of the disagreements spur from the lack of pay raises, the decrease in funding, and the increasing ratio of professors to students in the classrooms.
Since 2008, the CSU system has lost $970 million in state funding and have laid off faculty while also slashing admissions. Tensions have been intensified since the last three-year contract expired in June 2010.
Despite the union's proposal to extend the contract, the administration asked for a new contract that resulted in an impasse on April 6.
According to the union, the next step in the bargaining process involves bringing in a neutral third party to examine the dispute and assist the two sides in reaching a settlement.
If this does not produce an agreement, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed can give his last contract offer. The union can then decide to strike.
"I don't want to strike, [but] I'm certainly willing to do so. I realize that this will have a serious impact on the students," said Assistant English Professor Neil Hultgren.
Under the "rolling strike" plan, certain campuses would strike for two days each, one following another. If members approve the walkout, it could result in delaying the fall semester for nearly half a million students throughout the state. This could culminate as the largest university strike in state history.
"We feel like what we're doing is standing up for the students' right to a quality education as well as the faculty's right to provide one," said Lillian Taiz, President of the California Faculty Association and Professor of History at Cal State LA.
The association last held a one-day walkout at two campuses last November to protest raises that went unpaid in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 under the last contract.
Voting runs until April 27.