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California State University faculty vote to authorize strike over pay and class sizes

People walk on campus at San Diego State University on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, in San Diego, Calif.
Gregory Bull
People walk on campus at San Diego State University on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, in San Diego, Calif.

Faculty at all 23 campuses of the California State University system have voted to authorize a strike, demanding a new contract with higher salaries, lower class sizes and more manageable workloads.

Members of the California Faculty Association — which represents 29,000 lecturers, librarians, counselors and other employees — authorized a walkout in a 95% vote, the union said in a statement Monday.

“CFA members are emphatic that low pay, growing workloads, and systemic inequities are not sustainable,” the statement said.


A strike is not a sure thing. The union's demands will be presented to the university’s chancellor, Mildred Garcia, at the board of trustees meeting on Nov. 7, and negotiations will continue from there.

The union wants a 12% jump in pay for some faculty, more counselors to support students' mental health, expanded paid parental leave, and increased safety provisions for faculty interacting with university police.

The university system said in a statement that it hopes a walkout can be avoided.

“The CSU remains committed to the collective bargaining process and reaching a negotiated agreement with the CFA as we have done with five of our other employee unions in recent weeks,” the statement said.

It's been a busy year for labor actions in California. Hollywood writers went on strike for nearly five months beginning in May, and actors joined them in July. Los Angeles hotel workers have staged staggered walkouts since the summer, and earlier this year LA school staff walked picket lines. There was also a contract dispute at Southern California ports.