After the “ratification” of the CFA contract

EMERGENCY ONLINE MEETING: Throw out the results of the sham contract vote at Cal State!

The CSU Academic Workers Rank-and-File Committee is hosting an emergency meeting on Wednesday, February 21, at 7:00 p.m. PT to discuss the need to organize against this ballot that produced sham results. Register for the meeting here.

East Bay California State University workers on strike, January 22, 2024.

On midday Monday, the California Faculty Association (CFA) announced that “76% of voting CFA members approved” a new tentative agreement. The contract, which covers 29,000 faculty, lecturers, counselors and coaches, was announced after the CFA called off a weeklong strike after one day.

The claim that the contract was accepted by the membership cannot be taken seriously. The contract was a sellout that was far below rank-and-file demands for an immediate 12 percent wage increase and significant improvements to staffing. There was mass opposition to the deal expressed in a series of town hall meetings with faculty.

Worse, it was passed through a sham vote in which workers were given a false choice between accepting the contract or rejecting it and “[accepting] accept the terms imposed by Management January 2024,” in other words, returning to work without a contract.

With utter contempt for the intelligence of CFA members, the bureaucracy declared in a statement on the vote, “Thousands of members cast a ballot for a vote turnout that reflects a dynamic and vibrant democratic union.” 

No doubt there were many people opposed to the contract and who wanted to continue the strike who voted “yes” or abstained, since a “no” vote meant working under even worse terms. If there had been a third box (3) to check for “strike until our demands are met and use union funds for strike pay,” it is highly doubtful the contract would have passed.

The main issue is that faculty has to reject the entire antidemocratic framework through which this betrayal is being enforced. Faculty must organize from below to enforce the principle that the democratic will of the membership must take priority over everything else and not manipulated to provide a veneer of legitimacy to an illegitimate contract. No contract “passed” under such circumstances should be considered binding.

Workers should not roll over and allow this undemocratic charade to continue. They must begin organizing and take immediate measures to challenge the legitimacy of this vote.

The CSU Academic Workers Rank-and-File Committee proposes that this fight be taken forward around the following three demands:

  • The current ballot must be thrown out, and a genuine vote must be organized and overseen by trusted rank-and-file faculty.

  • The entire CFA bargaining committee and all those involved in organizing this sham vote must resign. They must be replaced by trusted, rank-and-file faculty without connections to the union apparatus.

  • If workers vote to reject the contract in a real, democratically organized vote, last month’s strike must be immediately resumed on an indefinite basis rather than limited in advance to one week. A strike fund must be made available to allow faculty to stay out until all of their demands are met.

The CSU Academic Workers Rank-and-File Committee is hosting an emergency meeting on Wednesday, February 21, at 7:00 p.m. PT to discuss the way forward. Register for the meeting here