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Cal State faculty reach deal, ending systemwide strike

Classes resume Tuesday following agreement between CSU and the faculty union

Cal State faculty began historic week-long strike on Monday, Jan. 22. A labor agreement was reached after first day of systemwide strike. (Photo: Courtesy CFA San Bernardino)

Classes resumed at California State University after the university's management reached an agreement with the faculty union, bringing an immediate end to the first systemwide faculty strike.

On Monday, Jan. 22, nearly 30,000 members of the California Faculty Union began a historic labor strike at the largest four-year public university in the United States. Many classes were canceled as faculty walked out for what was intended to be a week-long strike. After just one day, both parties announced they had reached a tentative agreement, allowing faculty to return to work on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

The breakthrough comes after months of intense negotiations during which CFA demanded a 12% raise, as well as other issues related to benefits and working conditions on campus. Negotiations ended earlier this month after CSU management made a compensation offer of 5%. Dissatisfied with Cal State's offer, the faculty union declared its intention to strike at the start of the spring semester.

In a statement Monday evening, CSU Chancellor Mildred García expressed her satisfaction with the new agreement, stating, "I am extremely pleased and deeply appreciative that we have reached common ground with CFA that will end the strike immediately." She added, "The agreement enables the CSU to fairly compensate its valued, world-class faculty while protecting the university system's long-term financial sustainability."

CFA President Charles Toombs acknowledged the collective efforts of the CFA, stating, "The collective action of so many lecturers, professors, counselors, librarians, and coaches over these last eight months forced CSU management to take our demands seriously. This Tentative Agreement makes major gains for all faculty at the CSU," CFA President Charles Toombs said.

CFA released key highlights of the tentative agreement in a statement on Jan 22. Items in the agreement include: 

  • A 5% general salary increase for all faculty retroactive to July 1, 2023.
  • An additional 5% salary increase for all faculty on July 1, 2024 - contingent on the state not reducing base funding to the CSU.
  • Raising the salary floor for the lowest-paid faculty 

In addition to compensation, the agreement also introduces measures to support faculty well-being, inclusivity, and long-term sustainability, according to CFA. These include:

  • Increasing paid parental leave from six to 10 weeks.
  • Enhancing protection for faculty dealing with police interactions by providing for a union representative in those situations.
  • Improving access to gender-inclusive restrooms and lactation spaces
  • Providing support for lecturer engagement in service work.

The agreement would also extend the current contract to June 30, 2025.

The CFA is expected to ratify the contract in the coming weeks.

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