Cal Poly classrooms might turn into ghost towns soon after spring quarter kicks off.
The California Faculty Association (CFA) has officially set dates for a potential strike from April 13-15 and April 18-19 unless it and California State University (CSU) management can come to an agreement before the end of March, according to an emailed statement from the CFA.
The strike would occur during Cal Poly’s Open House, which is set to run from April 14-16.
For the past two years, the association has been working toward a “Fight for Five” — a 5 percent general salary increase — for all faculty. Its demands were answered with a 2 percent salary increase offer from Chancellor Timothy White and CSU management.
Cal Poly CFA chapter president and architectural engineering professor Graham Archer said that come April, at least 700 faculty members would be prepared to strike.
“Regret — that’s how I feel,” Archer said. “It’s the worst-case scenario. It’s the last thing we wanted to do, but there’s simply nothing left.”
After 94.4 percent of the CFA voted to authorize a strike, Archer said he had hoped CSU management would have agreed to its demands.
The strike could shut down the campus, causing students to miss a week’s worth of classes and forcing striking faculty to miss a week of pay, Archer said.
However, an online statement from Toni Molle, director of public affairs for the CSU, stated all 23 campuses impacted by the strike would remain open. The statement added that many classes would remain available, and that the strike should not interfere with students’ ability to complete their quarter and graduate on time.
An emailed statement from Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier corroborated the CSU statement.
“The university has developed contingency plans to minimize any disruption a faculty strike could have on students and the day-to-day operations of campus,” he wrote.
Students who wish to support the faculty association’s strike, if it does happen, are encouraged to join the picket line, according to Archer.
“Otherwise, it might be a good time to plan to go home,” he said.
Cal Poly administration will be working to set up activities “aimed at supporting student success during a potential strike, such as career days and professional development workshops,” Lazier said.
The CFA is hopeful that the strike won’t happen. The faculty are unwilling to give up if an agreement can’t be reached, even after the strike.
“Best-case scenario is that the two sides get together and the chancellor sees our point of view and gives us a raise,” Archer said. “Worst case, we not only have to strike in April, but if he still hasn’t seen the light and we could have to escalate it further, which could be as bad as us not coming back in the fall.”