Dear faculty, coaches, librarians, and counselors,
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
During the last month, a number of important events have transpired that have important implications for our work during Spring semester.
In preparation for a possible strike and to send a clear message to all administrators, we are asking that everyone wear red during the first week of class instruction, January 28 to February 4th. We can supply you with a “I don’t want to strike but I will” t-shirt, or you may be creative and wear a scarf, your favorite red tie, shirt, blouse, or even a button if you think that red clothing doesn’t suit you. Second, several of us will visit department meetings at the start of the semester to update everyone about the bargaining and strike activity. It looks like a strike, if it happens, will take place no earlier than March.
Here is the background:
First, like most of the other campuses in the state, San Jose State Unit 3 employees have received strike sanction from the South Bay Labor Council. This means that if we go out on strike, all the other unions in the South Bay will respect our picket lines as best they can. The Teamsters union, representing the UPS workers among others, as well as the building trades who are busy at construction projects on campus, will not cross a picket line of a union that has strike sanction.
Second, on January 13 the CSU and CFA met once again with the Fact Finder, and the CSU dumped a large collection of documents on the committee. The best estimate about the fact-finding report is that it will not be issued before the beginning of March 2016. After the report is issued a ten-day period of silence ensues, during which time the two sides have one more opportunity to come to agreement. Then our employer may impose their last, best offer, which is Chancellor White’s 2 percent increase to the faculty salary pool.
Third, on January 11 the Supreme Court heard the arguments in the Friedrichs case. This case has direct implications for us. Brought by several teachers against their union (the California Teachers Association, CTA), these individuals want representation against violations of their contractual rights, but they do not want to pay for this representation. That is, they do not want to pay “agency fees” which are a fair share payment for the representation CTA provides them, whether they are members or not. Similarly, CFA represents the rights of faculty, librarians, coaches and counselors, regardless of their membership status. If you followed the news accounts of the Court’s justices, it looks like a majority endorses a rejection of established law in favor of further disempowering collective bargaining. The Supreme Court is due to issue a decision on this case in June 2016.
Our semester promises to be an exciting one of asserting that we are the ones who make the SJSU a valuable institution for the education of California’s students. If education is as important as our leaders claim it is, the CSU administration needs to insure we have salaries that pay for our work as teachers, scholars and advisers. Our work makes the CSU an educational institution in which we can all take pride. Let’s defend that statement.