The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

CFA professors close to approving strike

Results for the vote to be released Monday


(As of Oct 30th, CFA members voted to authorize the strike.)



The California Faculty Association (CFA) Los Angeles chapter held a strike authorization vote last week along with a town hall meeting.


“Faculty do not get paid while on strike, which is why it is always the weapon of last resort.,” said CFA-L.A. Leaders. 


The vote authorizes the CFA Board of Directors to call a strike if management remains unwilling to bargain. At least a super-majority, which is more than 60%, of member participation is needed for a strike.  


As of Oct. 25, only half of the [Cal State LA] full-time professors had voted “yes,” according to CFA-LA leaders.  


One must be a member of the union to vote. Thirty percent of faculty at Cal State LA are not CFA members. As of Wednesday, 95% of CFA members had voted “yes” statewide.” 


“I walked around to get [CFA members] to vote. They have fears they will lose their pay or benefits if they speak out,” said CFA-LA Vice President Akhila L. Ananth. 


Senior Field Representative Marcelle M. Alvarado and Faculty Rights Chair Molly Talcott reassured members, explaining that all faculty members have the right to strike and are protected against retaliation. Employees will not lose health care or other medical coverage while on a legal strike.


Some faculty members fear a possible strike. Some faculty members are doing the math on how much income they may lose per day versus what they can gain if a better contract is approved. 


For instance, Leda Ramos a lecturer in the Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies (as well as Lecturer Counselor Rep.) said: 

“If I lose $100 more or less a day for three days now it will be worth it later for what we win.” 


CFA is currently in a fact-finding state, which includes a review of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Contract) 2022-24.  The collective bargaining agreement is an agreement between the CSU Board of Trustees and the CFA for the purpose of setting forth wages, hours of employment, and other terms and conditions of employment for members of the bargaining unit.  


“We are nearing the end of the fact-finding stage and kind of jump-starting the strike authorization vote because we have enough data to prove that the CSU has hoarded billions in reserves,” Ananth said. 


The fact-finding stage includes a three-person panel, which is made up of one person from the union, the employer and a neutral party to listen to both sides. After the panel, there will be a majority report that includes findings and recommended resolutions.


“The report is non-binding; rather it is meant to exert the power of public opinion on the sides to reach agreement,” according to the CFA


The University Times reached out to the CSU Chancellor’s office about the allegations of having a large sum of reserves. 


Hazel J.Kelly, Manager of Strategic Communication and Public Affairs for the CSU Chancellor’s Office responded, “Claims of a $3B “surplus” is not accurate. Using designated balances and reserves to fund recurring expenses such as salary increases can lead to structural deficits. Without designated balances and reserves, the CSU would not be able to pay off looming debt service, fund capital projects or even address potential disruptions in operations during an economic recession.” 


Kelly broke down the CSU designated balances and reserves, with $2.8 billion being allotted to three funds: short-term obligations funding for open commitments, encumbrances, near-term debt service payments and financial aid obligations; capital funding that is accumulated overtime to repair, replace, and construct educational buildings; and catastrophic event funding for any costs associated with catastrophic events or natural disasters. 


The rest of the reserve of $1 billion is to cover operating expenses and obligations in the case of economic uncertainty. CSU policy states that the CSU should have operating reserves for up to three to six months in the case of a recession or state budget fluctuations, but Kelly said that the system only has $733 million in reserves, which is equal to 33 days of operation.


“Drawing on our reserve funds for on-going expenses is not fiscally prudent and is not a sustainable alternative to using state funding or student tuition to support our on-going educational mission for students,” Kelly wrote in her statement.


With a table and red posters stating “CFA Strike Ready” members table for a week to get information out on the strike authorization vote. Members gave out t-shirts to CFA members and snacks to students who stopped by to learn what was going on. 


“Energy is good. We are getting a lot of support from students,” said Talcott.

Faculty and staff are not the only ones talking about the possible strike. Students like biology student Annika Vee are keeping themselves updated on what is to come. 


“I was a part of the protest that happened a few weeks ago. But I think we are the only campus talking about a possible strike,” said Vee. “I have friends who go to Cal State Fullerton and they have not mentioned a possible strike. I haven’t heard anything from professors. The only thing I saw was one of my chemistry professors wearing a strike shirt.”  


On Oct. 6, unions were not the only ones participating in the Strike Ready Picket Practice. Students like Sonia Arellano showed their support along with a group of peers by attending practice.  

“[The CSU] is asking a lot of the professors without [adequate] compensation. It’s not fair,” Arellano said. 

Some professors have openly spoken with their classes about the possible strike while others have not. 

“I saw the strike and the posters around campus. I support [CFA LA]. If there needs to be a strike, let’s do it,” said political science grad student Denia Ramos. 

Students and Cal State LA faculty are not the only ones working to get the work out of the authorization vote. Wille Murry, an LAUSD special education assistant with the Service Employees International Union, Local 99- Education Workers United, walked around campus Friday with peer Maciel Duarte to try and get final votes in. 

“We get called to come help out. It is an opportunity to meet new people and spread the word in supporting CFA cause,” said Murry. 

The CFA members are fighting for a 12% general salary increase, pay equity, fair workload, adequate parental leave, community well-being and safe campuses, according to the CFA website. 

The strike authorization vote is being held statewide by all CSU CFA unions. Voting ended last Friday with results of the vote expected to be released Monday, Oct. 30. More information about bargaining updates can be found on the CSU website.


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Leslie Magaña Arias, Multimedia Reporter
Leslie Magaña Arias is a reporter for the UT and Editor in Chief of the UT Community Magazine. She is a vegan activist and a human rights activist who enjoys doing investigation pieces and features. During her free time, she enjoys reading, going to museums, libraries, and bookstores, and collecting stickers and pins.
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