Largest Strike of US Professors Did Not Last Long

California State University faculty reach tentative agreement on first day
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 23, 2024 7:02 AM CST
Largest Strike of US Professors Is Over
Demonstrators picket outside the Cal State Northridge campus Monday, Jan. 22, 2024, in Northridge, Calif.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

California State University faculty members reached a tentative contract agreement Monday, the same day that nearly 30,000 professors, librarians, coaches, and other workers struck at the nation's largest public university system, their union announced. Members of the California Faculty Association will return to work Tuesday instead of continuing their planned weeklong walkout to demand higher wages, the California Faculty Association said in a statement, per the AP. The deal, which still needs to be ratified by the union members, "reflects the solidarity displayed by faculty, staff, and students across all 23 campuses," the association statement said. "To all the hard-working faculty who have been organizing on the street and on campus, your efforts have earned this victory."

CSU Chancellor Mildred García also praised the agreement. "I am extremely pleased and deeply appreciative that we have reached common ground with CFA that will end the strike immediately," García said in a statement. "The agreement enables the CSU to fairly compensate its valued, world-class faculty while protecting the university system's long-term financial sustainability." The systemwide work stoppage came two weeks after CSU officials ended contract negotiations with a unilateral offer starting with a 5% pay raise this year, effective Jan. 31, far below the 12% hike that the union was seeking. The tentative agreement calls for a 5% raise retroactive to last year and another 5% raise on July 1. It also increases the minimum wage for the lowest-paid faculty, according to the union statement.

The strike came as the new CSU semester began and classes for many of the system's 450,000 students could have been canceled if faculty members refused to cross picket lines. The California Faculty Association represents roughly 29,000 workers. Another 1,100 CSU plumbers, electricians, and other skilled trades workers represented by the Teamsters Local 2010 were set to join the strike but reached an agreement with the university late Friday. Some students on Monday joined the picket lines to show their support. Cal State Long Beach student Gabriela Alvarez said she joined the demonstration outside the university to support her professors and to reject tuition hikes that will start this fall. "It's important for our professors to be treated right," Alvarez said. (More California State University stories.)

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