- A California State University faculty union plans to go on a five-day strike from Jan. 22 to Jan. 26 — the same week most campuses return from winter break — unless its members reach a deal with the system by then.
- Negotiations between the California Faculty Association — which represents around 29,000 university employees, including lecturers, librarians and counselors — and Cal State have been stalled for months over issues like pay and parental leave.
- Cal State and CFA plan to return to the bargaining table for four days during the second week in January. If they don’t come to agreement, union members will strike at all 23 of the system’s campuses, CFA said Wednesday.
The planned action escalates the fight between Cal State and CFA, whose members overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike in October after hitting a bargaining impasse with the system over the summer. Faculty at four of Cal State's 23 campuses went on one-day strikes in December.
CFA is seeking a 12% pay increase for the current fiscal year. In return, Cal State has proposed a 5% annual bump over each of the next three years.
In November, a third-party fact finder appointed by the California's Public Employment Relations Board advised the sides to compromise on a 7% raise this year. Both parties rejected the recommendation.
Cal State and CFA also remain apart on matters like parental leave and facilities requirements.
The union wants a semester of paid parental leave for its members. The system has said it is willing to accept the fact finder's recommendation to increase paid parental leave from six weeks to eight weeks.
CFA also wants each building on campus to have lactation facilities and a gender neutral bathroom, policies that Cal State officials have said are too impractical or expensive in the face of systemwide infrastructure challenges.
A systemwide strike at Cal State would likely be one of the biggest in U.S. history. Cal State is the largest four-year college system in the U.S., with nearly 458,000 students in fall 2022 and more than 56,000 faculty and staff.
"They can, at any time, prevent a strike by offering us a fair contract," the union said Wednesday. "If they do not, then we will escalate our job actions to create a more promising future for all of us.
A Cal State spokesperson said Thursday that the system respects CFA’s right to lawfully strike, but hopes to reach an agreement as soon as possible.
“We are prepared to negotiate with CFA at any time to reach an agreement to increase faculty salaries,” the spokesperson said. “On other issues, CSU is prepared to agree to nearly all of the recommendations of the independent fact finder in order to reach resolution. If strikes do occur in January, we hope to minimize any disruptions to our students.”
Amid its negotiations with CFA, Cal State is also staring down a dramatic budget shortfall.
In September, the system approved 6% annual tuition increases for the next five years to the consternation of students and employees.
The move is expected to bring in $840 million in total additional revenue, but that still won't cover its deficit. The projected shortfall will grow if the union successfully pushes for raises beyond Cal State's current offer.
The university system has managed to reach contract agreements with many of the other unions representing its employees. In the fall, it announced tentative deals with the Academic Professionals of California, California State University Employees Union, International Union of Operating Engineers, Statewide University Police Association, and United Auto Workers.
But a potential agreement with CFA could upset the apple cart. Some of the union contracts include clauses that allow them to return to the negotiating table if another bargaining unit — like CFA — secures a big enough salary increase.