The faculty at California State University, the largest public university system in the U.S., is gearing up for a series of one-day strikes across four campuses, commencing this Monday.
The strikes, organized by the California Faculty Association, aim to address key concerns such as higher pay, extended parental leave, and improved working conditions for the approximately 29,000 professors, librarians, coaches, and other employees represented by the union.
Strike Schedule and Locations
The one-day rolling strikes will unfold as follows:
- Monday – California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
- Tuesday – San Francisco State University
- Wednesday – California State University Los Angeles
- Thursday – Sacramento CSU Campus
Why Are They Striking?
The California Faculty Association is advocating for:
- Salary Raise: A 12% salary increase for workers.
- Parental Leave: Extending parental leave from six weeks to a full semester.
- Workload Management: More manageable workloads for faculty.
- Support Facilities: Improved access to breastfeeding stations and increased gender-inclusive restrooms.
Anne Luna, president of the faculty union’s Sacramento chapter, emphasized the need for enhanced pay and benefits amid rising living costs. Luna stated, “They can afford to provide fair compensation and safe working conditions. It’s time to stop funneling tuition and taxpayer money into a top-heavy administration.”
The California State University chancellor’s office highlighted the fiscal implications, indicating that the proposed pay increase would amount to $380 million in new recurring spending, exceeding the increased state funding by $150 million for the 2023-24 academic year. Leora Freedman, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, acknowledged the need for increased compensation but emphasized the importance of fiscal sustainability.
Support from Other Unions
In a show of solidarity, Teamsters Local 2010, representing maintenance workers, electricians, and plumbers, plans to strike in support of the faculty union. Jason Rabinowitz, Secretary-Treasurer for Teamsters Local 2010, emphasized the need for fairness, noting disparities in pay compared to workers at University of California campuses.
Impact and Previous Strikes
The strike occurs in the backdrop of a significant year for labor movements, echoing protests by healthcare professionals, Hollywood actors, and writers. Last year, University of California teaching assistants and graduate student workers embarked on a month-long strike.
Conclusion: A Push for Fairness
As faculty members take to the picket lines, their unified voice echoes demands for fair compensation, improved benefits, and equitable working conditions. The strikes underscore the ongoing challenges faced by workers across sectors, emphasizing the collective pursuit of fairness and recognition of their essential contributions.