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Cal State, Union Reach Salary Agreement To Avert Strike

By Matthew Bowler

Students are shown walking on the campus of San Diego State University, Feb. 8, 2016.

California State University and the union representing thousands of faculty members — including those at San Diego State and Cal State San Marcos — on Thursday announced a tentative salary agreement, averting a planned five-day strike that was set to begin next week.

No details were released. CSU and California Faculty Association officials are expected to discuss the tentative deal at a Friday morning telephonic news conference.

News of the deal came one day after CSU and union officials announced that a settlement was within sight. A deal was so close that they said a news conference was already in the works for Friday, when "they hope to announce a settlement."

The two sides have been at loggerheads for a year, with the CFA calling for a 5 percent salary increase, and the CSU countering with a 2 percent hike, insisting there was no more money available for salaries.

The CFA won a major victory on March 28, when a fact-finder hired to help resolve the contract dispute recommended that faculty receive the 5 percent raise they've been demanding. Arbitrator Bonnie Prouty Castrey said the increases should be spread over the next year, with the money re-allocated from other projects. She also recommended that step increases due for 43 percent of CSU faculty should be paid.

While the union hailed the decision, the CSU system called the recommendations "unworkable."

"Freshmen and transfer students have enrolled. New faculty, advisers and academic support staff have been hired. Desperately needed renovation and maintenance projects are already in process," CSU Chancellor Timothy White said. "Any attempt to pull back from these commitments would cause significant harm to students, faculty, staff and California. And as a fiscally responsible public entity, the CSU cannot commit to spend money it does not have."

The nearly 26,000 CFA-represented instructors at the 23 CSU campuses had scheduled strikes for April 13, 14, 15, 18 and 19. According to today's announcement, that strike will be put on hold pending a ratification vote by the union's membership.

If the union ratifies the deal, the CSU Board of Trustees will consider it at its meeting on May 24 and 25 .

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