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BREAKING: CSU faculty across all 23 campuses begin week-long strike today

Over the last six months, negotiations in pay raises have failed, but the walkout is about more than that, say faculty

By ONME Newswire

Faculty across 23 California State University (CSU) campuses are on strike today and the rest of the week, although all CSU campuses remain open during the strike, according to CSU officials.

There have been no changes to the published spring academic calendar, and the strike will not interfere with students' ability to complete their courses and graduate on time, according the CSU official statement on the matter. 

"People coming to campus should expect to see picket lines and may experience traffic delays, but access to campus will be maintained and offices and facilities will be open to provide services and resources to students to help them prepare for the new semester."  

The CSU system of 23 campuses employs more than 56,000 faculty and staff and enrolls nearly 460,000 students, offering 4,100 degree programs that align with workforce demands. About 95% of California Faculty Association's (CFA) members voted in favor of the strike in October 2023.

The CFA and its members are not satisfied with the 5% raise the CSU Administration being offered to the CSU faculty instead of the 12 percent requested. However the issues regarding today's beginning strike is more than just about a raise, according to CFA and strikers. Since May 2023, they have been bargaining for the several request listed below to management:

  • 12-percent pay raises that keep ahead of inflation.

  • Pay equity and raising the floor for the lowest-paid faculty.

  • Manageable workloads that allow for more support and engagement with students.

  • More counselors to improve students’ much-needed access to mental health services.

  • Expanding paid parental leave to a full semester.

  • Accessible lactation and milk storage spaces for lactating faculty.

  • Safe gender-inclusive restrooms and changing rooms.

  • Safety provisions for faculty interacting with university police on all campuses.

“In recent news reports, CSU management has only addressed our conflict over salary; they have completely ignored the issues of workload, health and safety concerns, and parental leave. Management wouldn’t even consider our proposals for appropriate class sizes, proper lactation spaces for nursing parents, gender inclusive bathroom spaces, and a clear delineation of our rights when interacting with campus authorities,” said Chris Cox, CFA Vice President of Racial & Social Justice, North, and San José State Lecturer.

“CSU management wants to maintain the status quo, which is not working for the vast majority of our faculty, students, and staff. In order for us to have a properly functioning system in years to come, we need to improve the working conditions for faculty and learning conditions for students. This includes raising the salary floor for the lowest paid faculty; a general salary increase for all faculty; parental leave appropriate to our work assignment, and appropriate staffing for mental health counselors on campus,” Cox added. 

According to a statement posted by California State University officials, their counter-offer to CFA was more manageable and affordable with the entire CSU system budget:

  • The CSU has offered the faculty union a 15% raise over three years (a 5% raise each year).

  • The CSU has offered the faculty union two additional weeks of paid parental leave (currently 6 weeks, we have offered 8 weeks).

  • The CSU has offered to accept 13 of the independent factfinder's 15 recommendations. This includes the factfinder's comments on paid leave, department chair pay, gender-inclusive restrooms, and counselors and other key items. 

The statement continued: The CFA's demand for a 12% raise would cost $312 million just this year. Their other economic demands, such as life insurance increases and raising the minimum pay add up to another $68 million, for a total of $380. This is financially unrealistic. Their request far surpasses the state funding increase that the CSU received in last year's state budget ($227 million) and is more than the entire budget of Cal Poly Pomona ($369 million). 

A KVPR news report said that CSU Chancellor Mildred García outlined her position in a press conference Friday, and said the system needed to remain committed to long-term stability and be fiscally prudent. García said the CSU is open to coming back to the bargaining table and urged the union to make an agreement that is within what she called “financial realities.”

The report continued that vice chancellor for human resources, Leora Freedman argued the raise the union is asking for would be too costly.

“The faculty union’s compensation demands would cost CSU approximately $380 million in the first year alone and every year after that,” Freedman said. “This is $150 million more than the CSU’s entire funding increase from the state of California in [fiscal year] 23-24.”


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