Teachers march for fair contract
California Faculty Association demands better wages
March 14, 2006 11:10 AM
Holding signs, and chanting, the California Faculty Association (CFA) cranked up the pressure on the California State University (CSU) administration in a march for reduced workloads and a fair salary agreement.
Progress has been slow, but like many CFA members, English professor Geoffrey Green remains confident that sticking together will result in an agreement.
“Hopefully this will get [the CSU] to budge,” said Green.
Passers-by slowed to look as about 30 faculty members and CFA supporters gathered on the corner of 19th Ave. and Holloway Ave. at 12 p.m on March 8. Supporters marched back and forth between the Administration building and HSS building waving sign which some read “Reduce class sizes for better learning conditions” and “Students' learning conditions are faculty working conditions.” Supporters also sported red armbands symbolizing their efforts.
At one point, supporters brought their demonstration to the crowds of students hanging out in front of the Student Union. Marching the perimeter of the quad, supporters chanted aloud over a megaphone. Most students stared but some joined the march.
Two University police officers kept on eye on demonstrators from the entrance to the Administration building but denied to make any comments.
The CFA’s current contract has been expired for 2 years, but has been extended to Mar. 15 as negotiations for a new contract take place, according to former CFA president Mitch Turitz.
“[The CSU] is likely going to extend the contract again,” said Turitz. The contract has already been extended three times.
Debates continue to revolve mainly around faculty salaries, which the CFA members said, “lag far behind comparable faculty salaries around the nation.” The CSU faculty also lags behind community college professors, according to the CFA.
Compared to San Francisco Community College District professors’ annual salaries, CSU professors on average make 28 percent less, or $22,000. Regardless, CSU faculties are expected to handle increasing class sizes, which the CFA wants to reduce.
According to the CFA, this makes it difficult for the CSU to recruit and retain quality teachers and for faculty members to maintain a middle class lifestyle.
SF State CFA Office Manager Laurie Owen said that despite the salary gap and $1.5 billion in other unmet needs, CSU Board of Directors spent “$1.8 million on salary raises and perks for the top 27 administrators” before a contract agreement between the CSU and the CFA has been met.
“It’s a done deal,” said Owen.
In addition to reduced workloads and a fair salary agreement, the CFA wants a greater responsiveness to their grievances, which according to the CFA, the CSU simply keeps them in an already long backlog.
Under the current contract, faculty cannot strike, according to Turitz. But under contracts that have been imposed, faculty have the option to strike but without protection. The CSU can opt to hire new faculty, leaving strikers jobless.
CSU Media Relations Director Clara Potes-Fellow said the CSU is proposing to extend the contract again for the fourth time, and will discuss the issue with the CFA tomorrow.
Potes-Fellow says the CSU will not proceed in ways that will harm the students.
“We will continue to try to find mutually acceptable ways to address the complex issues which remain in dispute,” said Potes-Fellow.
The CFA picket at SF State is just one of many CFA action days that began across CSU campus on March 6, and were planned to continue until March 9.
The action days are aimed at campus presidents, who wield considerable amounts of influence on the CSU administration and statewide policy-making regarding the state university system, according to the CFA.
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