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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

CSU students and teachers are inconvenienced by the abrupt end of the CFA strike

The California State University system reaches a salary raise agreement with CFA members, sending students back to class on short notice last week.
Eli Young
CSUF staff, students, and supporters look to make their voices heard via a work stoppage on campus on Monday, Jan. 22, 2023. After one day of picketing, the two sides agreed on a tentative deal.

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, students in the California State University system received an email from their schools stating that a CFA strike was going to take place the following week, which in turn would cancel classes from Jan. 22 to Jan. 26. While students made their plans for the week, professors adjusted their assignments and lesson plans to fit in all of their class content.

After one day of striking, the CSUs and the CFA came to an agreement that included a higher salary, safer workplaces, and longer parental leave.

This abrupt end to the strike less than 24 hours into picketing left CSU students and teachers unprepared for class to resume the next morning.

“I received an email late Monday night that we would be back in class the next day, not even three hours before midnight,” said Bryan Laureano, a Psychology student at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Joseph Gutierrez, a geology professor at California State University, Fullerton and California State University, Long Beach, voiced a few concerns.

“It was rushed on the CSUs’ part and the CFA wanted to be done with it, or at the very least they didn’t think we had the momentum to get a better deal,” said Gutierrez. “So, they figured, ‘Okay this is a decent offer, let’s just take what we can.”

CSU professors will receive a 10% raise. 5% of that raise is retroactive to July 1, 2023 or anyone hired after that date, and the other 5% goes into effect July 1, 2024. That is double the original counter offer the CSUs originally made before the strike. However, professors appear to be most concerned that the last half of this raise is solely dependent on the school’s budget.

Picketers walk across the street in front of CSUF with noisemakers and signs, one reading “Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions.” (Eli Young)

“It’s kind of a scapegoat that they [CSUs] have been using for the longest time. ‘We don’t have the budget,’ or ‘The budget is variable,’” said Guttierez. “So, I’m concerned that they’ll try to work their way out of that or make it difficult.”

Some students like Child and Adolescent Studies student Jennifer Padilla suggested that the agreement was rushed.

“I honestly feel like the CFA should have stood their ground and stayed on strike in order to get more for everyone,” said Padilla. “The agreement feels less inclusive, and it feels like the CFA just wanted to avoid a strike altogether.”

Aside from asking for a 12% pay raise and extended parental leave, the CFA stated they were fighting for more mental health counseling for students, specifically to improve the counselor-to-student ratio in the CSU system. However, this was not addressed in the tentative agreement that both parties have accepted.

“They kind of just settled for the first one that came out,” said Gutierrez. “They left the student counseling services off the table. I know a big part of it was making sure we had a lot of counseling improvements for students.”

A group of CFA picketers walking across the street on Jan. 22 on Nutwood Ave. in front of CSUF. Faculty, students, and community members gathered to show support for the CFA. (Eli Young)

Most professors have been accommodating to students who wouldn’t be able to make it to classes on Jan. 23 on such short notice, however there were a few reported outliers.

“I tried reaching out to my professor to try and make accommodations since it was such short notice, but they shot down the idea and implied that attendance would be mandatory,” said Padilla. “I wish that the professor would have seen that changing plans last minute was honestly really stressful for all of the students involved.”

Students also struggled with being completely prepared to start their spring semester, as they were essentially told they would have an extra week to prepare. Certain classes require more than just some pens and a textbook.

“It’s largely unfortunate,” said Marcus Diaz, a Studio Arts major at CSUF. “There wasn’t any time for me to go out and gather up required materials and properly prepare my work schedule for the week.”

A group of picketers are having snacks while taking a break from walking up and down the road outside of Langsdorf Hall to show support for CSUF Chapter of the CFA on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. (Eli Young)

Professors were notified at the same time as students, and this late-night notification stressed out instructors as well. Due to the unexpected stoppage of this strike, some professors did not feel fully prepared to start the spring semester working so quickly as they anticipated a week-long strike at minimum.

“It was difficult,” said Ricardo Valencia, an assistant professor in the communications department of CSUF. “I haven’t finished my syllabus and I have, for the first time, come to the class without it.”

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About the Contributor
Eli Young, iF Photo Editor & The Hornet Photographer
Eli is a photography and journalism major from Compton, CA. They spend their free time playing Dungeons & Dragons and going on night walks in downtown areas for some street photography. Their end goal is to become a full-time photojournalist.  However, a big goal of Eli's is to open an art gallery in Compton where people from Compton and the surrounding area can submit their artwork to be shown in the gallery for others to see.

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