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CSUMB faculty to join systemwide strike the first week of spring semester

CSUMB faculty plan to join a system-wide strike occurring at all 23 CSU campuses during the first week of spring semester.
Elena Neale-Sacks
CSUMB faculty plan to join a system-wide strike occurring at all 23 CSU campuses during the first week of spring semester.

Faculty at all 23 California State University campuses plan to strike in less than two weeks, coinciding with the first week of spring semester classes for CSU Monterey Bay students.

The California Faculty Association — which represents almost 30,000 lecturers, professors, counselors, librarians, and coaches systemwide — made the announcement Tuesday. It came in response to a “last, best, and final offer” the University presented to the union earlier that day. The offer, a 5% salary increase, came as a surprise to faculty members who expected bargaining to continue throughout the week.

“Folks are really upset. They're really angry,” said Meghan O’Donnell, a CSUMB lecturer and member of the CFA’s statewide bargaining team. “They feel like the chancellor has kind of turned her back on her faculty.”

The CFA has been asking the University for 12% raises for its members, in addition to other benefits, like extended parental leave and higher minimum salaries for the lowest-paid workers. Since the start of negotiations more than seven months ago, the university has repeatedly said the union’s demands are not financially viable. In a statement Wednesday, a university representative expressed disappointment that there has been “no meaningful movement” from the CFA throughout months of bargaining, accusing the union of showing “no indication that they are open to negotiating in good faith.”

But O’Donnell said faculty had provided counter proposals aimed at finding compromise in four areas — workload, leaves of absence with pay, salary, and benefits — which they sent to the university on Monday, before the final offer was presented.

When the CFA was notified that the university was canceling all remaining bargaining sessions this week, the union authorized the strike, which is set to take place on all 23 CSU campuses from January 22-26. Teamsters Local 2010, a smaller union of 1,100 skilled maintenance workers, plans to join the CFA on the picket lines.

Though faculty had hoped to avoid a strike, according to O’Donnell, the CFA has been preparing for the possibility since December — when faculty at four CSU campuses staged a series of one-day walkouts.

“Folks need to be prepared,” O’Donnell said. “The CSU is going to shut down. There will be no classes. There will be no library services, no counseling services, no coaching. The whole thing is going to shut down. And the fault lies with the Chancellor's office.”

The University maintains that all its campuses will remain open during a strike and that it has “contingency plans” in place, though at the time of publishing it had not provided any details.

CSU Monterey Bay holds the FCC license for 90.3 KAZU. The station is located on the university’s campus.

Elena Neale-Sacks is a freelance reporter and producer at KAZU. Prior to joining the station, they worked as a podcast producer at The Oregonian. Elena is an alum of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.