Sacramento Valley Union Labor Bulletin

Owned and Published by the Sacramento Central Labor Council and the Sacramento-Sierra’s Building & Construction Trades Council, official councils of the AFL-CIO


Strike looms for California State faculty

By Sheri Williams

Faculty of the California State University system approved a series of one-day strikes in early December to fight for better pay and working conditions.

Four campuses of the Cal State system planned one-day strikes during the first week of December, as the Labor Bulletin went to press.

Faculty are fighting for 12% wage hikes for the union, which represents 29,000 professors, librarians, lecturers, counselors, coaches and other staff.

Teamsters Local 2010 members—who are also bargaining with CSU management—are planning to hold sympathy strikes in support of CFA members.

“CFA members are prepared to withhold our labor to get the contract we deserve,” the union said in a statement. “We recognize the need to join together and fight CSU management’s disinvestment in the people who are directly responsible for student learning and success.”

“Rent, childcare, groceries, and the costs of basic necessities have gone up by double digits over the past few years. Our faculty are some of the lowest-paid educators in the state. They desperately need a lifeline,” said Anne Luna, CFA Sacramento president and Sacramento State professor. “An independent auditor reviewed the CSU budget. We know management can afford our proposals. They can afford to provide fair compensation and safe working conditions. It’s time to stop funneling tuition and taxpayer money into a top-heavy administration. It’s time to put the money where it belongs, to support the faculty and students of the CSU.”

In addition to a pay increase, the union is fighting for pay equity and raising the floor for the lowest-paid faculty. Union members are also seeking manageable workloads that will better serve students by allowing for more support and engagement.

They are also seeking more counselors to aid students with mental health services as students across California struggle to recover from pandemic-era stresses. The union is also seeking expanded paid parental leave and more facilities for working parents, including access to lactation and milk storage facilities.

CFA is also planning to file a lawsuit in federal district court, challenging CSU’s infringement of members’ academic freedom.

In the days before the Teamsters strike, CSU East Bay and CSU Fullerton sent messages to their campus communities prohibiting faculty from using class time to discuss the strike. As public employees, CFA members have constitutional rights to free speech. Within the context of academic freedom, this First Amendment protection applies to CFA members’ discussion matters of public concern in the context of their scholarship and teaching.

“We are overworked and underpaid, and our students are not getting the education they deserve,” said Anthony Ratcliff, Contract Development & Bargaining Strategy (CDBS) Committee Chair, CFA Los Angeles President, and CSU Los Angeles professor.

CFA Bargaining Chair and CSU Sacramento professor Kevin Wehr remarked, “The contract we are fighting for is not something we merely want. It is something we fundamentally need.”