Irv Schiffman, Chico CFA president, Bob Ross, chair Political Science,
Jerry Blesdoe and Terry Jones, state CFA discuss contract negotiations.
Jones says that the union has come to the table ready and prepared to bargain, but they have not found a similar readiness on the part of CSU negotiators. In fact, Jones said, the Union is beginning to suspect stonewalling on the part of the CSU. "We have been patient, and are slow to anger, but when we do we will be a formidable force," said Jones. "The potential for faculty action is great. Although there are 5560 percent faculty who are CFA members, our polls show that as many as 90 percent support the CFA position on the contract."
Faculty at both San Luis Obispo and Fresno have picketed on their own campuses and the CFA is considering a series of job actions, including the possibility of strike. These steps are necessary because the risks of not having completing a contract by the end of the mediation and fact-finding period, and thereby have the CSU determine the contract, are great: If a contract is imposed by the CSU, (1) faculty could lose the right to go to binding arbitration of grievances; (2) merit increases could comprise 40 percent of available money for salary increases rather than the CFA suggested 20 percent; (3) the salary schedule could be eliminated; and (4) FERP would be reduced from the current five years to two.
Jones believes that "a well-informed, active, and agitated faculty will save us." He said, "I am here at Chico State to feel the pulse of the faculty and to convince them of the gravity of the situation and the necessity of their active involvement. A lot of our people just can't fix their lips to say `strike.'
Postscript: The Delegate Assembly of the California Faculty Association has voted to begin planning a "series of job actions, culminating with a strike authorization vote by the faculty should they deem it necessary." The faculty is currently working under the previous contract that contains a "no-strike" clause. Either side has the right to cancel the existing pact, according to Irv Schiffman, Chico president of CFA.