Cal State professors strike and win pay bumps

By DON McINTOSH

It was the largest strike by college faculty in U.S. history: About 29,000 professors and librarians represented by the California Faculty Association struck the California State University system Jan. 22 to demand higher pay. The strike halted classes for 460,000 students on 23 campuses around the state.

Union members were ready to stay out five days. But after one day, the university system increased its offer dramatically and the two sides reached tentative agreement. If ratified as expected, the agreement will provide an immediate salary increase of 5% retroactive to July 1, 2023, and another 5% boost July 1, 2024. It will also raise the salary floor for the lowest-paid faculty members by $3,000 now and another $3,000 July 1, at which point the minimum salary will be $60,360. And it will increase parental leave to 10 weeks, up from six.

Before the strike, the union was calling for raises of 12%, an increase in minimum pay to $64,360, smaller class sizes, and a full semester of expanded parental leave. Until the strike began, university officials wouldn’t agree to more than 5% raises to take effect Jan. 31.

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