Updated Jan 23, 2024 - Politics & Policy

What to know about the systemwide Cal State strike

Faculty members and other employees at CSU Los Angeles strike on Jan. 22. Photo by Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images

A systemwide strike began at 23 California State University campuses Monday.

The latest: CSU and the union representing its faculty announced late Monday they had reached a tentative agreement ending the strike.

The big picture: The union representing some 28,000 faculty members at the nation's largest four-year public university system was demanding pay increases, extended parental leave and minimum course cap standards, among other requests.

Details: The California Faculty Association initiated the five-day strike to re-open contract negotiations this week.

  • Earlier this month, the union delivered four proposals to the CSU management bargaining team, who walked out of negotiations and threatened systemwide layoffs before making a final offer, per CFA.

The other side: CSU said Monday that it has offered the faculty union a 15% raise over three years and two additional weeks of paid parental leave (up from six weeks to eight weeks).

Yes, but that's lower than the 12% per year increase the union was bargaining for the salaries of all faculty.

  • The union was also seeking a raise in the salary floor for the lowest-paid among them.

What they're saying: CSU said in statement that the 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," the statement read. "This is financially unrealistic."

Zoom in: Cody Trojan, who was picketing with his colleagues Monday in the pouring rain, said that as a lecturer at Cal Poly Pomona, he's among the lowest paid workers in the CSU system.

  • Trojan is considered a temporary worker and gets paid $6,000 per course, he said. He's teaching two this semester, and with another two the following semester that's a $24,000 income so he teaches at UCLA to supplement the income.
  • "There's a lot of faculty equity issues here that really need to change," Trojan told Axios from the picket line, where he was carrying a sign that read, "Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions."
  • He said the faculty "won't be bullied, and they deserve dignity."

Of note: The CSU said all campuses are open during the strike and classes are not canceled.

  • "Individual faculty members who decide to strike will cancel their own classes," per a statement.

Go deeper: Cal State tuition to increase starting next year despite student protests

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the strike is for five days, not four as originally stated. The article was also updated with the latest.

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