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Cal Poly Humboldt faculty join CSU campuses in strike next week

The Cal Poly Humboldt campus on Sept. 6, 2022.
Cal Poly Humboldt
The Cal Poly Humboldt campus on Sept. 6, 2022.

The Arcata campus will remain open and operational during the strike.

The strike is part of the ongoing bargaining process between the California State University system and the California Faculty Association. They have a two-year collective bargaining agreement that expires on June 30. Despite bargaining, the two sides have been unable to reach a new agreement.

The statewide strike will begin on Monday and will include professors, librarians, counselors, lecturers and coaches. Non-union employees will still be at work, and it’s up to professors to cancel their individual classes.

The California Faculty Association represents 29,000 people across 23 campuses. It's seeking more mental health counselors for students, expanded paid parental leave and a 12% pay raise, among other things. The university system is providing union employees with a 5% pay raise starting in February, but the union says that’s not enough.

"CSU management has never taken seriously our proposals for desperately needed equity transformation for CSU students, faculty, and staff, including raising base salary for our lowest-paid, struggling faculty, manageable workloads for more student engagement, more mental health services for students, limits to police power, and humane and adequate parental leave," the union said in a statement.

CFA faculty strike in Pomona in December.
California Faculty Association
CFA faculty strike in Pomona in December.

The university said in a statement that it expects its non-striking employees to continue to work during the strike.

The Teamsters Local 2010 union, which represents skilled trades workers on CSU campuses, will also strike. That union is seeking pay increases, and negotiations are ongoing.

"CSU workers are fed up with the University’s unfair labor practices and refusal to show real appreciation for our hard work and sacrifice that has made the University successful. CSU can afford to be fair with workers, and Teamsters are standing together and ready to take effective strike action to make CSU bargain in good faith for the fair contract we deserve," Teamsters Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz said in a statement.

"Both CFA and Teamsters have demanded a general salary increase that would result in cuts to programs and potentially layoffs at CSU campuses. Despite this, the CSU is committed to fairly compensating employees in a financially sustainable manner," the university said in a statement.

The strike is expected to last a week. Bargaining will continue after that.

"What we've seen in higher education in the CSU and elsewhere is [...] that more and more money is being funneled up to upper management, less [and] less money to the people who are doing the work," said Loren Cannon, a lecturer at Cal Poly Humboldt and a member of the CRA statewide bargaining team. "We have had, quite literally at Cal Poly Humboldt, classes canceled because they can't get someone to teach the class for so little money."

CFA also led strikes at CSU campuses in Pomona, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento in December.

Jane Vaughan is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. Jane began her journalism career as a reporter for a community newspaper in Portland, Maine. She's been a producer at New Hampshire Public Radio and worked on WNYC's On The Media.