About a dozen Cal Poly faculty members joined hundreds of California State University educators in Long Beach to protest their displeasure over the deadlock in pay negotiations.
The demonstration took place on the day of the CSU Board of Trustees meeting. The faculty union has authorized a strike if a settlement can’t be reached on compensation.
“We plan to maintain the pressure and let the CSU administration know we’re going to keep this issue on the forefront,” said Graham Archer, Cal Poly’s faculty union president, who joined Tuesday’s protest. “This is what a strike would look like.”
Archer said CSU faculty members, some of whom traveled by bus from as far away as San Francisco State, chanted and held up signs pushing for a 5 percent raise, instead of the 2 percent offered by the CSU.
They wore T-shirts that said “I don’t want to strike but I will,” said Jere Ramsey, Cal Poly’s faculty rights representative.
Ramsey said CSU Chancellor Timothy White has refused to listen to faculty concerns on shared governance at Cal Poly, as well as a “reasonable request for 5 percent.” The Cal Poly faculty joined the protest to make itself heard by the Board of Trustees.
CSU spokeswoman Toni Molle said the CSU administration remains committed to the collective bargaining process and achieving a negotiated agreement with the California Faculty Association.
“The California State University values its employees and continues to prioritize compensation,” Molle said.
Matt Lazier, Cal Poly’s spokesman, said Cal Poly is in the second phase of a $3.5 million plan to increase faculty and staff salaries, money that goes “above and beyond” negotiated salaries across the CSU system.
“University administrators understand that compensation is a significant issue on our campus and will not be solved immediately,” Lazier said. “The campus-specific plan provides a long-term approach to identify and address the most egregious salary inequity gaps at Cal Poly.”
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a voting member of the CSU Board of Trustees, said Tuesday at the meeting that he urged “resolve to work collaboratively (in bargaining) in the next few weeks and months to get to where we need to go.”
“I want to express my appreciation to the faculty for reminding us of their value, the gaps that exist, and the work that needs to be done,” Newsom said. “Good negotiation is open, transparent and flexible. In the spirit of openness, transparency and flexibility, we will get there.”