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North Coast Current

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California Faculty Association members vote for CSU strike

San Marcos among campuses covered by union; no action taken yet
Students walk near the Kellogg Library at California State San Marcos. (CSUSM photo by Brandon Van Zanten)

The California Faculty Association, which represents instructors at state university campuses including CSU San Marcos and San Diego State, announced on Monday, Oct. 30, that a majority of its voting membership had approved the authorization of a strike.

The vote, which took place last week, came as the faculty union and the California State University system faced an impasse over a new contract.

Negotiations hit an impasse at the start of the semester over salary rates, benefits and workplace rights for more than 29,000 CSU professors, lecturers, coaches, counselors and librarians.

“Members sent an emphatic message that low pay, growing workloads, and systemic inequities are not sustainable – 95 percent of voting members support taking job actions if necessary to win a deal that addresses these alarming issues,” the CFA’s announcement, circulated to faculty and others, stated.

In addition to salary increases, the union seeks caps on class sizes to help manage course workflow and student engagement, expanded paid parental leave and more counselors to help with students’ mental health needs, according to the CFA announcement.

The CFA initially sought a 12% pay increase, while the The CSU system proposed a 4% increase. After further negotiations, the CSU system increased its offer to 5%, leading the union to call the negotiations at an impasse.

Although the CFA member vote was in favor of a strike, no such action is underway yet.

“We will update members with next steps,” the Oct. 30 message from CFA stated.

In a statement, CSU Acting Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Leora D. Freedman said that the university system and California Faculty Association will continue negotiations.

“In prior years’ negotiations, these votes ultimately did not lead to a strike and the parties were able to reach agreement,” Freedman said in the statement. “We hope the same thing will happen this year.”

The CSU system entered into new contracts with other employee unions earlier in October.

Members of the CSU Employees Union, which represents support such as nurses, staff and custodians and nurses; United Auto Workers Local 4123, which represents academic student workers; and the Statewide University Police Association, which represents campus police, would receive pay increases of 5%, among other items.

Subject to member ratification, those agreements would be up for approval by the CSU Board of Trustees on Nov. 7 and 8.

(Story updated 10/31/23 at 3:50 p.m.)

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