California State union threatens one-week systemwide strike

The California Faculty Association says its members will strike from Jan. 22 to 26 across the California State University system.

The union says it represents over 29,000 tenure-line instructional faculty members, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches across the 23-campus system. A CSU System spokeswoman said the union had 15,820 dues-paying members as of September, and the total represented employees in its bargaining unit was 27,796.

The union announced in October that its members had voted to grant its Board of Directors the authority to call a strike. This month, it held one-day strikes on four campuses. In a Wednesday news release, it announced the dates for the weeklong systemwide strike, which it said the Teamsters Local 2010 union, representing other CSU employees, would join.

“As CSU management refuses to listen, we have no alternative but to disrupt the business of the CSU to get their attention,” Meghan O’Donnell, a CSU Monterey Bay lecturer and union leader, said in the release. “We will not tolerate disrespect for the people who make the CSU work.”

Among the union’s demands is a 12 percent salary increase this academic year. In a news release earlier this month, the CSU system balked at that, saying it “would cost $380 million in new recurring spending,” which would be “$150 million more than the funding increase that the CSU received from the State of California for all operations in 2023–24.”

The union is also demanding, among other things, more counselors for student mental health, “Accessible lactation and milk storage spaces for lactating faculty” and “Safe gender-inclusive restrooms and changing rooms,” Wednesday’s union release said.

In an email Wednesday, Hazel J. Kelly, a CSU system spokeswoman, wrote that CSU “respects the right of the California Faculty Association (CFA) to engage in lawful concerted activities. Our goal is to reach an agreement at the bargaining table, but if strikes do occur in January, we hope to minimize disruptions to our students.”

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