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North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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CSU San Marcos, SDSU face faculty union strike Jan. 22

Stoppage called as talks stall with university system
Students+walk+near+the+Kellogg+Library+at+Cal+State+San+Marcos.+%28CSUSM+photo+by+Brandon+Van+Zanten%29
Students walk near the Kellogg Library at California State San Marcos. (CSUSM photo by Brandon Van Zanten)

California Faculty Association leadership has called for a systemwide California State University strike from Jan. 22 to Jan. 26, which would affect the start of classes for campuses such as CSU San Marcos.

Teamsters Local 2010, which is also in labor negotiations with the university system, will be on strike during those dates in solidarity with the teachers union, the CFA stated in an announcement sent to members on Jan. 7.

Spring semester classes at CSUSM are scheduled to begin Monday, Jan. 22, while San Diego State University’s first day of classes is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 19, according to the campuses’ academic calendars.

Talks between the faculty union and CSU officials broke down on Tuesday, Jan. 9, when the union reported that university system representatives walked out of a planned set of negotiations this week.

“Today, in lieu of real proposals, management walked away from the table after just a few minutes,” CFA President Charles Toombs said Jan. 9 in a union announcement. “Rather than bargain in good faith with the union, they expressed nothing but disdain for faculty. We know they have the money in their flush reserve accounts.”

CSU officials countered that the union has been unreasonable in its call for pay raises and equity, manageable workloads and more counselors for students, among other issues.

“We are very disappointed that despite our best efforts, there has been no meaningful movement from CFA over the course of more than seven months of negotiations, and no indication that they are open to reasonable negotiations,” Leora D. Freedman
CSU vice chancellor for human resources, said in a statement circulated to campuses. “The CFA’s only salary proposal was not financially sustainable to the CSU and would result in painful cuts on our campuses — including layoffs — that would jeopardize the CSU’s educational mission.”

Among the points that the sides have remained at odds over are the union’s call for 12% pay raises to keep pace ahead of inflation, pay equity and higher floor for lower-paid faculty, more manageable workloads, an increased number of counselors to improve access to student mental health services, and safety provisions for faculty who interact with university police.

The faculty union held rolling strikes at individual campuses during the fall 2023 semester. The call for the systemwide strike and the apparent freeze in negotiations indicate an escalation in the ongoing conflict.

“Instead of coming back to bargain today, management decided to present a condescending slide deck outlining their position from last November,” the CFA said in its Jan. 9 statement. “When CFA’s team stopped the presentation to inquire as to whether there were any proposals, the Chancellor’s team leaders shut down and threatened systemwide layoffs. They walked out after 20 minutes and cancelled all remaining negotiations.”

Freedman, the CSU vice chancellor, said in her statement that it’s the faculty union’s call for the 12% wage increase that could lead to layoffs.

“The CFA’s only salary proposal was not financially sustainable to the CSU and would result in painful cuts on our campuses — including layoffs — that would jeopardize the CSU’s educational mission,” she stated.

The CSU system instead will grant all CFA-represented employees a 5% salary increase effective Jan. 31 in addition to other terms, Freedman stated.

“We are now in a position to take this action (‘impose’ terms) because the impasse proceedings have concluded, and the parties are no longer in bargaining,” she stated.

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