CSU faculty union calls for strike

  • September 28, 2011

By TERENCE CHEA
Associated Press Writer

The California State University faculty union on Wednesday called for a one-day strike at two CSU campuses to protest the administration’s decision to withhold negotiated pay raises.

The California Faculty Association said it plans to hold “concerted actions” at the East Bay and Dominguez Hills campuses on Nov. 17. Those actions could include a strike if union members authorize it.

The faculty union, which represents professors, lecturers, coaches, counselors and librarians, also plans to conduct informational picketing at all 23 Cal State campuses on Nov. 8 or 9, union leaders said.

The faculty association decided to call for the job actions after administrators decided not to pay salary increases negotiated for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 academic years.

The CSU system rescinded the raises after the state cut higher education funding, but a state-appointed fact-finding panel recently recommended that the university provide a small fraction of the negotiated raises.

The faculty union is currently in negotiations for a new contract and isn’t satisfied with the administration’s proposals, which could lead to pay cuts over the next few years. Faculty members are also upset over the administration’s decisions to dramatically raise student tuition and increase the salaries of some executives, Taiz said.

“We have a responsibility to take action to preserve our profession and to protect our students,” Taiz said. “It is simply not possible to predict what kind of university this will become if there is not a dramatic change in course.”

CSU spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp said a strike would be “very disruptive to students.” He said it would be inappropriate to give roughly $20 million in salary increases to faculty members when the university is facing a severe financial crisis.

Over the past three years, the cash-strapped state has sharply reduced funding to California’s public colleges and universities, which has led to steep tuition hikes, course cutbacks, staff layoffs and reduced student enrollment.

For the current fiscal year, the CSU and University of California systems each lost $650 million in funding, about 20 percent, and could lose another $100 million each if the state takes in less revenue than anticipated. To offset those cuts, Cal State raised tuition by more than 20 percent this academic year.

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