Thursday, March 22, 2007

California State University Faculty Authorize Strike

Big news--thousands of CSU faculty members across the State of California have authorized a strike, which could happen as soon as next month. (Here is an NPR story on the subject.)

Among their list of grievances: salaries that are well below the national average.

This is particularly vexing at a time when executive (i.e. administrative) pay at both public and private institutions is soaring.

The nation's universities are normally about a decade ahead of the rest of the country, when dealing with societal issues. The general rule is that you can take a look at what the hot-button issues are at the major universities, and you can expect to see those same issues at the top of the agenda on Capitol Hill in about 5 to 10 years (the struggle to prevent global climate change, civil rights, etc. all got their start by students and/or faculty). However, the executive compensation issue--while simmering in the private sector for roughly 20 years, before coming to a recent boil, is fairly new to academe.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. There is already a large support base for the CSU faculty on this issue. In something of a break with historical patterns, students and faculty will be calling for change, in chorus with the rest of the nation.

Boards of Trustees, beware. You may look at the pressures regarding executive pay exerted on corporate Boards of Directors as a window to your own futures.


diogenes said...

Not a nice thing to do. And using students is worst. BTW, very useful blog.

dsargent said...

Thanks for the comment. :-)

Yes, the CSU faculty has really been taken advantage of...

Trying to maintain a tolerable standard of living in California (one of the highest cost-of-living locations in the country), with salaries that are roughly 20% behind the national averages for their positions, has got to be difficult.

The current situation has to be negatively impacting student learning too. When one can't afford the bills at home, one doesn't have the time, nor the energy, to teach. I'd be looking for a second job in the evenings...not grading papers, or planning the next lecture.