CSUMB faculty vote on strike after contract negotiations grind to a halt.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
CSU Monterey Bay faculty have been working under an expired contract since 2010. This week, they head to the polls to vote on whether to authorize a strike, a move that could push forward stalled contract negotiations.
If enough faculty union members vote yes, the result could be two-day “rolling strikes” happening on different days at schools throughout the CSU system.
The union’s call for a strike vote came after contract negotiations stalled earlier this month. The California Faculty Association represents 24,000 professors, librarians, coaches and counselors at CSU campuses.
Union members say they want CSU to slow down growing class sizes and guarantee “academic freedom,” allowing professors to teach how they see fit.
CFA also takes issue with CSU top executives receiving raises, free housing and car allowances while, according to the union, CSU will not discuss small pay adjustments for teachers, librarians, coaches and counselors, who have gone without raises since 2008.
Another contentious point: the “just-in-time” teaching model, which makes more faculty positions temporary.
“We care about the quality of education; we care about small classes; we care about the rights of lecturers; we care about academic freedom,” says Rafael Gomez, president of CFA’s local chapter and a Spanish professor at CSUMB. “All of these are reasons we should vote yes on this strike authorization.”
It’s one more dark cloud hanging over the beleaguered CSU system, which has already raised tuition, will freeze admission to most students next spring and will reduce fall enrollment.
CSU plans to cut enrollment for 2013-2014 by up to 25,000 students, first by closing most of its campuses for spring admissions. The university system’s mission is “to encourage and provide access to an excellent education to all who are prepared.”
Fifteen of CSU’s 23 campuses – including CSUMB – won’t admit new students for the spring 2013 semester, while eight will allow some community college students to transfer.
“By law, if a community college transfer applicant has finished his associate’s degree, then he will automatically be in the system,” CSU spokesman Erik Fallis says. “That does not mean he is enrolled.”
The cuts will be $200 million deeper if voters don’t approve Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax increases. CSU plans to waitlist all eligible students applying for fall 2013 until after the Nov. 6 vote, and limit students to 15-17 credits each term, with exceptions for graduating seniors.
“We’re trying to educate the same number of students with less money,” CSUMB spokesman George Machun says. “But it’s hard on students who have to wait for another semester to come in.”
Meka Boyle contributed to this report.