Tag Archives: CFA


The CFA Strike Starts Today — No Rain Delay!

An Historic Benchmark: The Largest Ever Union Strike at any U.S. Academic Institution

This morning I was out on the picket line, protesting the insult of a pay cut by the Chancellor’s Office of California State University. They would claim that their imposition of a five percent pay raise adequately addresses the inflation that has ravaged our incomes the past two years.

I’ll grant that it was a damp, chilly, and at times rainy morning, but I was surprised by the absence of several colleagues on the picket line and can only hope that they are not betraying the effort and sacrifices made by those who understand that only collective action will alter things.

The only faculty who would have an excuse for staying home would be at San Diego State. San Diego had a major downpour today, with 2.7 inches falling there. Wind speeds up to 48 miles per hour were reported in Imperial Beach. The 5 Freeway near downtown was flooded. Water up to three feet high forced people — both adults and children — to flee to the second floors of buildings.



Gary Griswold, a colleague who was on the picket line with me this morningG, has given me permission to disseminate a statement he wrote about the strike. here it is:

One of my colleagues, Dr. Gary Griswold, worked up the following explanation of the strike, which he has given me permission to share with you. Professor Griswold, as he notes, received his first two degrees from CSU Long Beach, so he has a long institutional memory. I thank him for permission to distribute this statement.

From the desk of Dr. Gary Griswold:

“I would like to give you some context for the strike.

“Faculty play the pivotal role in the University’s core mission to provide a high-quality education to an increasingly diverse California. Yet, while faculty continue to invest their time and energy needed to promote student success, they find themselves struggling to support their families, afford housing, and make student loan payments.

“But to have the best learning conditions, you need to have the best employment conditions for faculty. Instead, the CSU Board of Trustees and the CSU Chancellor’s Office are currently raising student tuition by an alarming 34% over the next five years, have raised the salaries of CSU Presidents up to 29%, and hired a new Chancellor whose salary, combined with housing and car allowances, amounts to close to a million dollars of yearly compensation.

“All this, while they just walked early during negotiations with faculty and imposed a measly 5% raise, which doesn’t even cover inflation, claiming to be too impoverished to agree to our union’s proposal to increase faculty pay, limit class sizes, and hire more counselors/advisors for students.

“The total cost of our union’s proposal would be around 386 million dollars. That sounds like a lot of money until you find out that CSU system is an extremely healthy and lucrative corporation with an ever-increasing surplus that surpasses 6 billion dollars.

“I emphasize that this strike is not just about a faculty pay raise, but also about our students. We have proposed, and the CSU Administration has rejected, increased counseling and advising services for students as well as limitation on the continual increasing of class enrollment sizes. This last issue has a direct effect on how much individualized attention students may receive from faculty.

“I myself and a product of the CSU system. I earned both a BA (1987) and an MA (1989) in English right here at CSULB. In my more than 40 years at this campus, first as an undergraduate, then a graduate student, temporary staff member, temporary lecturer/instructor, and finally, in 2002 as a full-time professor, I have witnessed a gradual decline in civil, respectful treatment of the faculty by both CSULB and system-wide (Chancellor’s Office) administration, especially in the last decade or so.

“What was once the largest, most respected, and affordable system of public higher education ever seen, held up throughout the world as a model of investment in the future of our students, and subsequently, California, has turned in to a corrupt, top-down tyrannical corporation, whose only interest is in increasing profits at the expense CSU students, faculty, staff, and all California tax-payers.

“Thank you for your understanding and support.”

— Dr. Gary Griswold
Department of English

Professor William Mohr seconds this statement.

Bill Mohr, Ph.D.
Department of English

As I prepare to go to the picket line tomorrow morning, I have quickly improvised a portion of a song lyric:

I put my money where my mouth is —
I’m on strike and I won’t get paid.
The chancellor collects her salary
for spewing a hypocritical tirade.

She gets paid a million a year
to offer faculty a cut in pay
The governor says she’s doing fine
“Cajole, ignore, and egregiously delay.”

“Remind them it’s a privilege
to teach the young at a college level;
And emphasize their gratitude
Shows best when they begin to grovel.”

Yes, faculty deserve no better
than wages now worth less than yesterday
Let them eat margarine, not butter
And feel humiliated next payday.

The strike might be a big mistake.
The CSU has wealth beyond belief
and sleeps on it when we’re awake — .
For once, though, the bite of our teeth!!!!

Ground Level Conditions

BRAIN FACTORY: The Forestalled CFA Strike at California State University

Friday, April 8, 2016

BRAIN FACTORY: The Forestalled CFA Strike at CSU

With less than a week to go before a massive strike by California’s college teachers was about to take place, the California Faculty Association and the Chancellor’s Office of the California State University (CSU) system agreed to a new contract. This morning’s announcement is a major win for the faculty’s union, which had had its case affirmed by a fact-finding committee in late March. The contract completes the financial side of a three-year agreement, extending from 2014 to 2017, that had only heretofore had its first year of a proposed set of pay increases ratified by the faculty. However, this now finished current contract will supply most of its benefits in the next two years; there will be no retroactive pay as such for the past academic year.

As a 10 year veteran of the CSU at this point, I am gratified that there will not be a strike. I suppose there is always the chance that the rank and file will reject the contract when it comes up for a vote in May, but I doubt that will happen. This has been a difficult burden for all of us. The previous time that a strike vote was taken, in 2012, the vote of approval was so overwhelming (94%) that the Chancellor’s Office settled on a pay raise rather quickly. This time though, with almost the same exact percentage once again voting in favor of a strike, the process dragged on for months after the vote, leading to a considerable degree of anxiety and foreboding, for both students and faculty.

In recent months, Chancellor White held a series of public meetings with faculty at campuses around the state. At every meeting, he insisted that no money was available to give faculty any kind of raise above two percent. In the days after the meeting at CSULB, I wrote a song lyric to express how faculty at CSULB felt about the obstreperousness of CSU’s Board of Trustees.


The brain assembly line’s on strike.
’Cuz two percent’s a total joke;
Three won’t match the raise in rent;
Four will hardly make a dent;

Five percent is what we want.
Five percent is what we want.
Five percent is what we want.
And we want it one for all.

Our students need to learn
What teachers really earn;
If knowledge shines prosperity,
Why so much dim austerity?

Tim White cavorts to heap the praise,
Then tightens up about a raise.
We ask to catch the cost of living
To compensate for what we’re giving.

I worked to get a Ph.D.
And mastered how to teach;
But now home ownership
Escapes impoverished reach.

Two percent’s a drop in the bucket —
Three point nine would hardly cut it!
We’re striking at the brain factory
Because the chancellor’s refractory.


Five percent is what we want.
Five percent is what we want.
Five percent is what we want.
And we want it one for all.

Our students need to learn
What teachers really earn;
If knowledge shines prosperity,
Why so much dim austerity?

Five percent is what we want.
Five percent and don’t you stall.
Five percent is what we want.
And we want it one for all.

It appears that the Chancellor Timothy White is no longer refractory, but is willing to concede that the CFA has a valid point to make about the salary paid to both tenure-track and adjunct faculty. I applaud the negotiating team of the CFA for being steadfast in their determination to stand up for economic equity on behalf of the CSU’s faculty.


Ground Level Conditions

The Imminent Faculty Strike at California State University

Sunday, February 21, 2016


The California Faculty Association (CFA) has authorized a strike for mid-April by all those who teach in the California State University system. I, for one, am not eager to strike, but I see no other choice. The Chancellor and the Board of Trustees have not only refused to negotiate in good faith, but do not have the courage to admit the financial facts of living and working in California: their offer of a two percent raise is essentially a pay cut that keeps CSU tenure-track faculty and lecturers at the very bottom of their profession in terms of take-home remuneration. After a decade of utterly stagnant income, California State University professors deserve a minimum raise of five percent.

The dispute concerning the percentage of the next pay raise is merely a short-term disagreement, however. No matter how the current contract plays out, both Chancellor White and the CSU Faculty agree that somewhere down the line another major statewide or national economic catastrophe will occur. The last time a precipitous shortfall in funding the CSU happened, the CSU Board of Trustees asked the faculty to accept a furlough that amounted to a ten percent pay cut. The faculty, in a state-wide vote, affirmed that furlough by only a modest margin. The close vote reflected the faculty’s distrust of CSU’s administrative bureaucracy, and it has turned out that the suspicions of those who voted “no” were fully justified.

Does Chancellor White really think faculty will vote for another furlough? Only six percent of faculty voted not to strike this spring. I doubt even that small fraction of the faculty will accept a concession involving any future furlough; since the faculty’s consent is required to bring about a furlough, the Chancellor will then be forced to let go of lecturers, and there will not be enough teachers for the classes that students need. What then, Chancellor White? This upcoming strike will probably last no more than five days. The problem of educating students for an entire academic year without a furlough to prop up the budget will be a far, far more daunting challenge. To their considerable chagrin, Chancellor White and the CSU Board of Trustees will discover the consequences of burning their economic bridges with professional aplomb back in 2016.

Penny wise, and pound foolish, describes the Chancellor’s long-term strategy. If Chancellor White wants all of us to make sacrifices when the next crisis occurs, it might be a good idea for him to make at least a token gesture of acknowledgement for sacrifices made in the past. Memory, though, has no gratitude.

We who do the work of educating the students are determined to be treated in a fair manner. The pursuit of happiness is the yearning for knowledge, which in turn is the engine of wealth. Let all workers, including teachers, be requited with the rewards of that knowledge.