For the next two weeks faculty members from the 23 CSUs will vote on whether or not to authorize the California Faculty Association Board of Directors call to strike.
If a strike is authorized, each CSU will have two designated days during which faculty will withhold from work.
CFA President Lilian Taiz said a date hasn’t been determined when strikes will start, but could take place anytime during the end of this semester or the beginning of the fall.
For the past 22 months, the CFA has been bargaining with the Chancellor’s Office for a renewed contract but parties have yet to reach an agreement.
Vice President Kim Geron said during a teleconference on Wednesday, that he is hopeful a fair settlement will be made and a strike won’t be necessary, but he also believes a strike will be necessary if an agreement can’t be made.
“Faculty are frustrated, angry and, frankly, fed up with being told they’re not worth any small cost-of-living increase,” Geron said. “That puts us in a situation where we feel we have to take a strike at this time.”
Taiz agreed with Geron and added that since an agreement wasn’t made in mediation, there will be one more legal step before a strike is possible.
“Our contract expired back in June of 2010,” said Taiz. “What generally happens then is each side decides what it wants to discuss at the bargaining table and we did that — trying to figure out a resolution to the differences between us.”
Taiz said this process took a year and a half, and reached a point in the negotiations where it was clear no progress was being made.
The final legal step is called ‘fact-finding,’ where just the like the mediation stage, a neutral person is brought in to listen to the facts from both sides.
“After all the facts are provided and presented, the neutral fact-finder will come to some kind of judgment and make a recommendation,” said Taiz. “The fact-finder’s recommendation is not binding, so it means that neither side has to listen to the fact-finder.”
Taiz said that even if at the end of the fact-finding an agreement is still not made, then it would give the authority to the CFA Board to take action.
“At that juncture, the faculty would have the authority, the power to withhold their labor and go on strike,” Taiz said.
“We are asking faculty to commit to what we’re calling ‘two-day rolling strikes,’” Taiz said. “Every campus would have a strike, but the strike would last two days and it would roll up and down the state from Humboldt down to San Diego.”
Faculty members will have the option to vote in person or online to give the board that authority.
If Fresno State faculty choose to vote in person, they can do so April 16-17, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and April 18-19, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the University Student Union Balcony in the building’s southeast corner.
If there are questions, members of the CFA will be available to talk during the voting hours.