Cal Poly faculty and staff picketing for higher pay greeted alumni and administrators attending an event at the Performing Arts Center with chants of “Time for 12!” during a picket at noon on Friday.
The chant was a reference to the 12% pay increase the California Faculty Association (CFA) is requesting as part of its contract negotiations.
About 35 people holding signs gathered near the PAC parking structure to raise attention for their effort.
From her wheelchair, CFA-SLO President Lisa Kawamura riled up her fellow faculty members.
“If we don’t get it?” Kawamura asked.
“We shut it down!” a crowd of faculty members responded in unison.
The CFA is in the second-to-final stage of bargaining — the fact-finding step — in its negotiations with the California State University, according to the union.
The CFA reopened a section of its contract last May and has not yet been able to reach a deal with the CSU, the union says.
Kawamura said the big four points of bargaining have been the 12% salary increase, paid leave, more gender neutral bathrooms and counsel when interacting with police on campus.
Without an agreement, the potential for a strike looms as many faculty feel their asks are central to their survival and work at the CSU.
“I have worked here for 10 years, and after 10 years I still don’t make a living wage,” said John Patrick, coach of the Cal Poly debate team. “Imagine if your dentist or your doctor or lawyer couldn’t reliably eat food and live indoors.”
The CFA held its strike authorization vote from Oct. 21-27, Kawamura said, with the vote wrapping up on Friday. Results have not yet been released.
The CFA can only vote to go on strike if fact-finding and the following stage, final and best offers, fail, according to Kawamura, along with approval from union membership and its leadership.
Reaction to faculty protest at Cal Poly
History professor Cameron Jones said the CFA chose to picket outside the PAC event because they wanted to make sure administrators inside could hear their voices.
“We are hoping to build more awareness,” Jones added. “And, hopefully, admin here at Cal Poly will put pressure on CSU admin to help get a fair contract for us.”
Freshman environmental management student Kieran Groves said he supported the CFA’s picket.
“This involves students as well, that’s why I think all students should be supporting faculty,” Groves said. “We need to show the CSU we stand together for faculty demands.”
Cal Poly didn’t respond to a request for comment about Friday’s picket and instead directed The Tribune to the CSU.