In the event that the “Fight for Five” strike occurs, it may be difficult to get on campus.
While picket lines will be stationed at every entrance, the California Faculty Association said those striking will not physically block anyone from entering. Staff and students working at campus stores are expected to show up for work.
The strike is set to occur on April 13-15 and 18-19 if an agreement is not reached between the CFA and the California State University system.
Those attempting to enter the campus should expect heavy traffic on adjacent streets, including Seventh Street, Bellflower Boulevard, Atherton Street and Studebaker Street.
The Long Beach Transit buses will not cross the picket line, since the LBT members will hold a partial strike in solidarity with the CFA. While the buses will continue to run throughout the city, they will only drop students off at stops near campus, such as the Channel drop-off station next to Target, not on campus. LBT is currently working with Cal State Long Beach on bus route plans for those days.
The Long Beach campus shuttle buses will still operate as usual.
Besides the potential five-day disruption, the CFA said students should not worry.
“We’re not the United Mine Workers, and we don’t expect the university to call out either the National Guard or Pinkerton detectives,” CFA Chapter President Doug Domingo-Foraste said.
He said students should expect to see a lively and passionate group of faculty, students and union allies cheering and singing in the picket line. Live music and spoken word poetry will accompany the strike. The tone will be celebratory as those striking chant for fair wages.
While the CFA is only striking for the 5 percent salary increase, CFA members said it is an important step toward securing the future of professors across the nation. Among the issues that exist beneath the umbrella of ideals that the proposed salary increase would address lies the issue of tenured density.
Nearly 60 percent of CSU faculty are adjunct professors or lecturers, with less than 20 percent considered tenured professors. Cal State Long Beach has 399 tenured professors, 215 associate professors, 179 assistant professors and 1,340 lecturers, according to the CFA Equity Report released on March 19.
This disparity is what Domingo-Foraste calls “the Wal-Mart-ing of the CSU.”
“One day, if things go as they are, there will be no more tenured professors,” he said.
According to a CFA report, while the number of adjunct professors has almost doubled, the number of full professors has dropped system-wide by 3 percent since 2004, with some campuses, such as Humboldt State University, CSU Sacramento and CSU Bakersfield, even reaching a 25 percent drop.
With the average income of adjunct professors at $50,000, they earn less than K-12 teachers, who make about $73,396 per year. That includes splitting teaching time between more than one campus.
“We’ve been starved for fair wages,” Domingo-Foraste said.
As plans for the strike begin to manifest, all 23 campuses statewide are discussing the potential effects. If it does occur, it will be the largest strike in U.S. academic history.
“Our real leverage is a public crisis,” CFA member Beka Langen said. “Our goal is to help the public understand.”
The fact-finders report, which is the last step in the negotiation process and contains information that can be used at the bargaining table, was released on March 17. The CSU and CFA are now in the 10-day blackout period before it becomes public. If an agreement is not reached with the CSU, the CFA will strike.
Students should consult with their professors in regard to classes being cancelled, as President Jane Close Conoley advised in a campus-wide email on March 15.