California State University Faculty Takes Strike Vote

BERKELEY

Frustrated by stalled negotiations, faculty of the nation’s largest four-year public university system began casting their first strike authorization vote Monday.

The vote, expected to be completed over the next two weeks, comes after nearly two years of negotiations have failed to yield a new contract.

Both sides agree faculty should be paid more, but the union wants larger across-the-board raises than CSU administrators have offered. The two sides also disagree on merit pay.

The issue is now before an independent fact-finder. If faculty authorize a strike and there is no contract resolution, CSU faculty could strike later this spring at CSU’s 23 campuses.

Voting will be conducted through Friday at 16 of the 23 affected campuses: Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Channel Islands, Cal State Chico, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State East Bay, Humboldt State, Cal State Los Angeles, California Maritime Academy, Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Sacramento, Cal State San Bernardino, San Diego State, Cal State San Marcos, Sonoma State, and Cal State Stanislaus.

A week of voting will begin March 12 at the remaining seven universities: Fresno State, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Northridge, San Francisco State, San Jose State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The League of Women Voters will tally the votes March 19-20, with results to be announced March 21.

CSU spokeswoman Clara Potes-Fellow said administrators have made a fair offer and are “working hard to complete the fact-finding process with the goal of reaching an agreement with the faculty union. In the meantime, we hope that the faculty keep in mind that students come first and we all want to make sure that students do not get hurt.”

Union leaders say they plan to minimize the impact on CSU’s more than 400,000 students by having brief strikes that roll from campus to campus.

“It will cause the students less pain than it will cause the university,” said John Travis, president of the California Faculty Association, representing 23,000 instructors.

Travis said the first day of the strike authorization vote went well.

“We’re clearly getting a lot of folks out to the polls,” he said. “They’re anxious to make a statement and we think it’s going to be a statement to support job actions.”

–Associated Press

 

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