Thursday, March 22, 2007

Strike News!

March 21, 2007 • SPECIAL EDITION


  • 94 percent vote to support a strike
  • Voter turnout is 81 percent
  • Bargaining crisis inspires 1,300 new members to join the union.

Any lingering questions about the solidarity and resolve of the California State University faculty were answered resoundingly Wednesday by the results of the first strike vote in the history of the California Faculty Association.

A stunning 94 percent of the voters agreed that the CSU’s professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches should initiate rolling walkouts if the CSU administration continues to reject bringing their salaries in line with their peers across the country.

More than 8,000 voters—an extraordinary 81 percent of the CFA membership—turned out to send an unmistakable message to Chancellor Charles B. Reed.

Here’s how CFA President John Travis summarized that message: “Faculty don’t want to strike, we want to teach. But in my 30 years at the CSU I’ve never seen us more united. Faculty members are taking a stand and it starts with insisting that the chancellor make us an equitable salary offer. We won’t settle for less.”

The pro-strike-authorization numbers rang across all 23 CFA chapters. On only one campus was the vote in favor of striking as low as 79 percent.

An equally telling number is the 1,300 faculty who have been moved to join CFA during the recent months of the bargaining crisis and impasse. Taken together, the landslide strike authorization and the union’s growing ranks leave no doubt that faculty have the capacity to shut down the university if an agreement cannot be reached, and reached quickly, said CFA Vice President Lillian Taiz.

“There will be hundreds of faculty and supporters from other unions on the picket lines,” predicted Taiz, a leader of CFA’s field operations, “and we think they will be joined by students and staff who are as fed up as we are.”

Chancellor Reed blasted at Capitol hearing
There was great symmetry in Wednesday morning’s historic events. Even as Travis, Taiz and other CFA leaders were announcing the League of Women Voters-certified strike-vote totals at Dominguez Hills, Charlie Reed was getting grilled at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

At a special hearing of the Senate Education Committee’s subcommittee on the budget, legislators pressed Reed about his scandalous “Executive Transition Program” handouts to CSU executives, and the chancellor struggled with evasive and incoherent responses.

But when the hearing ended, Reed got no relief: he was immediately encircled by scores of reporters insisting on his reactions to the strike announcement just issued in Southern California. The San Francisco Chronicle called it a “one-two punch.”

A sampling of the media coverage of today’s historic developments can be viewed at

CFA’s news release about the strike vote is at

Clearly, Reed’s policies and style have united CSU faculty as never before.

CFA Board votes to implement rolling strikes on all 23 CSU campuses as 10-day “quiet period” ends
On Wednesday evening the CFA Board of Directors met and, by unanimous vote, made it official, turning the strike authorization into a strike plan with teeth.

The Board empowered the CFA officers and Field Team (who organized the strike vote) to make a final decision on which days and which campuses will begin the two-day walkouts in the initial round of job actions. Out of necessity, planning has been under way for months.

The first walkouts are expected in April but may occur sooner. Once the fact-finder’s recommendations are made public this Sunday, at the conclusion of the 10-day “quiet period” mandated by state law, the faculty are legally entitled to undertake job actions—to go on strike.

The expectation is that Chancellor Reed will ignore the recommendations of the fact-finding report and quite possibly attempt to unilaterally impose working conditions on the faculty.

If he does either, a strike will begin shortly thereafter.

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