Cal State Faculty Begins Nation’s Largest University Strike

Cal State Faculty Begins Nation’s Largest University Strike

Thousands of faculty throughout the California State University System began a five-day strike Monday, a protest that was expected to cancel most classes as the spring semester gets underway.

About 29,000 members of the California Faculty Association, which represents professors, counselors, librarians, lecturers, and coaches from 23 campuses of the nation’s largest four-year public university system, began what is being reported as the largest university faculty strike in U.S. history.

The union said in a news release that since May, it has been met with “disrespect and derision” in bargaining with management. It is seeking, among other things, a 12% pay raise; an increase of the minimum salary from $54,360 to $64,360; more counselors for students; expanded paid parental leave to a full semester; and safe gender-inclusive restrooms and changing rooms.

Earlier this month, the union stated its plan to hold a five-day strike after university officials offered 5% raises, The New York Times reported. The Hill reported the university system, which includes more than 450,000 students, reached a labor deal with its Teamsters union local over the weekend to avoid a strike.

“In recent news reports, CSU management has only addressed our conflict over salary; they have completely ignored the issues of workload, health and safety concerns, and parental leave,” union vice president Chris Cox said in the news release. “Management wouldn’t even consider our proposals for appropriate class sizes, proper lactation spaces for nursing parents, gender-inclusive bathroom spaces, and a clear delineation of our rights when interacting with campus authorities.”

University leaders said the system already spends 75% of its operating budget on staff compensation and cannot afford to increase salaries at that level, the Times reported.

“If we were to agree to the increase that these unions are demanding, we would have to make severe cuts to programs,” Leora Freedman, the university system’s vice chancellor for human resources, said in a news conference Friday, according to the Times. “We would have to lay off employees — this would jeopardize our educational mission.”

Michael Katz |

Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.

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