CSU and faculty reach surprise tentative agreement, ending massive strike after one day

CSU and faculty reach surprise tentative agreement, ending massive strike after one day

Introduction

The CSU and faculty reach union and California State University reached a deal after a one-day strike.

Two strikes and discussions led to successful campaign for a #betterCSU, announced on Instagram.

Students were encouraged to check for communications from their teachers, and faculty members are expected to resume teaching on Tuesday. The deal includes increased maternity leave, safer workplaces, higher compensation floors for low-paid employees, and must be approved by union members.

Union leaders informed faculty members via email that the agreement also includes a 5% wage raise retroactive to July 1, 2023.

CSU Chancellor Mildred García released a statement expressing her satisfaction and gratitude to have reached common ground with CFA, thereby ending the strike. The agreement ensures the university system’s financial sustainability and fair compensation for its esteemed faculty.

In response to a walkout by faculty across all 23 CSU and faculty reach campuses, the unexpected declaration was made on Monday, the first day of classes.

Students faced a confusing mix of instructions as faculty members traveled statewide in cold rain: classes canceled, temporarily moved to Zoom, in session, assignments online, or postponed. Some were confused due to discontinued email correspondence with professors.

The institution’s administrators and the union lacked an official count, but students reported widespread teacher absences.

The university denied canceling classes due to misinformation

“We don’t cancel classes. If faculty members strike, they cancel their own classes. Students should attend unless told otherwise.”

Despite no specifics, they communicated over the weekend.

The California Faculty Association’s strike, involving 29,000 educators, topped off months of tension with CSU administration, as educators sought higher wages due to rising living costs. Many were overworked or exhausted from the pandemic.

Over a year ago, UC academic staff and teachers staged a 5-week walkout, leading to pay and working environment changes. In March 2023, LA teachers went on a 3-day strike in support of higher wages for school support staff. A second strike was averted when LA teachers accepted a deal for a 21% pay rise over 3 years.

Union demands by CSU and faculty reach

The CSU and faculty reach union has advocated for a 12% pay rise, an increase in the minimum salary for full-time faculty, extended parental leave, gender-neutral restrooms,

and smaller class sizes for the 2023–24 academic year.

CSU and faculty reach

The tentative agreement falls short of meeting all the demands. In addition to retroactive compensation, the deal includes a 5% raise on July 1st, pending state funds. The email states that it improves access to gender-inclusive facilities, provides more breastfeeding areas,

increases paid parental leave from 6 to 10 weeks, and raises the minimum pay for instructors by $3,000. 

Additionally, it extends the current deal, which originally ended in June, by one year. This agreement strengthens the learning environment for students

and significantly improves faculty working conditions, according to Antonio Gallo, an associate VP of lecturers. He attributes this historic agreement to the collective power and solidarity of members.

Scenes on campus

Following the strike, CSU campuses were empty with only a few individuals inside the Cal State L.A. student union as educators protested outside.

Student barista Jordyn O’Connell, who supports the strike, had to cancel classes but is excited to return to school after the break.

She said, “I’m excited to return and start the semester. Some students, like arts major Leslie Segundo, found out their classes were postponed until next week due to the strike.”

Despite some teachers not responding to her email, Segundo assumed classes would continue. “I’ll attend offered classes,” she declared, traveling from Orange. “Teachers on strike haven’t emailed specifics or assigned readings.”

Fresno State University’s food court wasn’t busy at midday. Karen Carrillo, the president of the Associated Students Inc., liked that three of her five instructors canceled classes this week.

Carrillo said learning happens beyond classrooms

Professors teach us to stand up for our beliefs and lead.

Sacramento State student, Michael Lee-Chang, said the campus looked deserted, receiving a picture of just an instructor and student in class. He added most students support the strike.

Cal State officials distributed online forms asking students to report canceled classes, but many hesitated due to concerns about reporting on faculty they know and care about. Some used spam forms to report on made-up classes like “Evil 101.”

Despite the rain, Stevie Ruiz, a Chicana and Chicano studies professor at Cal State Northridge, voiced opposition while acknowledging that a significant fraction of Latino students,

who make up around 50% of the student body, stayed away from campus due to the weather. 

“The working class fights for this, in awe of the students’ overwhelming support, as they are impacted by our circumstances; they care about us, and we care about them.”

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