Cal State faculty in salary dispute set to strike at two campuses

  • November 8, 2011

By Carla Rivera
Los Angeles Times

A California State University faculty union embroiled in a salary dispute said Monday its members will strike at two campuses next week.

The governing board of the California Faculty Assn. authorized a one-day strike Nov. 17 at Cal State East Bay and Cal State Dominguez Hills after 93% of members voted to approve the walkouts, officials said.

It would be the first strike since the union won the right to collective bargaining in 1983. The association represents 23,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches at 23 Cal State campuses.

The group is protesting a decision by Chancellor Charles Reed to withhold pay raises negotiated for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years. The raises, which would total about $20 million in the first year, stalled when the state cut education funding.

Recently, a state-appointed fact-finding panel endorsed a 1.3% pay increase that was rejected by the university.

"It's very clear from the results of this vote that our members are angry and willing to take this kind of action to get the attention of the chancellor and to get him to take a new approach to his misplaced priorities," said faculty association president Lillian Taiz, a history professor at Cal State Los Angeles.

Administrators are girding for disruptions on both campuses but are unsure how many classes will be affected, spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp said. Cal State and the University of California were each cut $650 million in state funding this fiscal year, and each system could lose another $100 million midyear if revenue falls below projections. Meanwhile, undergraduate tuition at Cal State has increased 23% in the last year.

"We're still of the same mind-set that to give a salary increase of $20 million to one specific group of employees….is fiscally impossible. It's money we don't have," Uhlenkamp said.

Some faculty members at all 23 campuses Tuesday and Wednesday plan to picket and hand out information about their grievances. Classes will be held as scheduled.

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