LONG BEACH, Calif - An endless sea of red shirts covered the streets in Long Beach, CA on Nov. 17 as more than 1,000 California Faculty Association (CFA) members and allies marched to demand a 5 percent raise in their salaries.
CFA members, students and allies showed their determination by delivering powerful speeches to the attendees and conducting a rally in front of the chancellor’s office as the CSU Board of Trustees’ meeting took place.
Inside the meeting, it was discussed that if a 5 percent were given to faculty it would only lead to a $68.9 million funding gap between the university’s proposals and the union. The CSU has only offered a 2 percent increase.
A majority of attendees in the meeting argued that a strike would not benefit anyone. However, this did not stop CFA members from chanting, “We don’t want to strike but we will” continuously throughout the rally.
“My colleges and I know that you are working below 2004 salary levels and that’s not right," California State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins said to the crowd of protesters. "You have been there through the lean years, you have sustained and supported a system, you have worked on behalf of California and stepped forward for its students and it is time for us to step forward for you. I know that it is important that you are able to continue doing the jobs that you love, the dedication that you give to our students. We want tuition to stay low, but we want you to be able to have a decent quality of life so that you can feed your families and we want to reinvest in you because you invest in our students, so we are in this fight together.”
Students also shared their solidarity by marching with protestors. Different Students for Quality Education (SQE) members from all over California showed their solidarity with the faculty’s fight by chanting passionately, “Fight for five” and waving signs that read, “We stand with our faculty,” and “Faculty conditions are student learning conditions.”
CFA Student Organizer and California State University, Stanislaus (Stan State) SQE Chair Raina Chelise was pleased to see how many students stood with their faculty, as well as the powerful demonstration that took place.
“We made our presence known to the administration, and to anybody else watching," Chelise said. "Students and faculty stood united and voiced our demands for quality education and fair compensation to be prioritized.”
About 21 CFA members and 20 Stan State SQE members and students showed their support in Long Beach.
The following step, the fact-finding hearings, are scheduled for Nov. 23 and Dec. 7. Based on the decision of the hearings, CFA members will strike if necessary. The strike will not take place until next year.