On January 22nd, the California State University (CSU) faculty union kicked off the 2024 school year in style. Staging a planned five-day protest, they perfectly timed their strike with the first days of classes. Represented by the California Faculty Association (CFA), the CSU staff totals roughly 29,000, including professors and librarians.
Chris Cox, CFA Vice President of Racial & Social Justice, North, and San José State Lecturer, outlined the group’s demands and how the mainstream media in CA has spun the situation.
“In recent news reports, CSU management has only addressed our conflict over salary; they have completely ignored the issues of workload, health and safety concerns, and parental leave. Management wouldn’t even consider our proposals for appropriate class sizes, proper lactation spaces for nursing parents, gender-inclusive bathroom spaces, and a clear delineation of our rights when interacting with campus authorities.”
The salary conflict Cox speaks about includes a jump in pay for the bottom end of faculty, a 12% pay raise they claim will keep them ahead of inflation. As the most standard portions of contract disputes, it makes sense that they would go after that first. Workload is something professors themselves manage when they assign their curriculum and choose their deliverables.
As the testing is now all (or damn near) online, there is little to no need for manual grading of exams. A written assignment might take longer to grade, but again, that’s something these professors have some leeway in deciding on.
With current enrollment its lowest in a decade, and tending downward for the last seven years, CSU faculty should be glad students still want to go there. Especially since the CFA thinks the demands of CSU employees will come without substantial tuition increases.