CSU-seal.gifCalifornia State University faculty members voted today to approve a one-day strike later this month to protest Chancellor Charles Reed’s decision to cancel planned faculty raises, California Faculty Association board members announced today.

An estimated 1,000 faculty members–including professors, librarians, and coaches–will take to the picket lines Nov. 17 at CSU East Bay in Hayward and CSU Dominguez Hills in Carson, with hundreds of faculty members from other CSU campuses expected to attend, CFA president Lillian Taiz said today.

Classes at those campuses will be canceled during the daylong strike, while operations at the other 21 CSU campuses are expected to continue as usual.

A CSU spokesman said today that university officials would work to minimize disruptions to school operations at the East Bay and Dominquez Hills campuses on Nov. 17.

Ninety-three percent of a majority of members who voted on the CFA board’s call for a strike at one or more CSU campuses voted to support the action, Taiz said.

While the main issue prompting the strike was Reed’s move to renege on scheduled faculty raises, Taiz said the failed contract negotiations symbolize broader problems in the CSU system.

“It represents misplaced priorities on the part of the chancellor — we’ve got students paying more and getting less, and faculty working harder and earning less,” she said.

Faculty members are asking for pay parity, which would ensure newer hires don’t out-earn more experienced faculty members and would cost the university $20 million the first year and $10 million each following year under a new contract.

Taiz said that while raises under the faculty-proposed contract would vary, in all, the CFA is asking for just a quarter of 1 percent of CSU’s $5 billion budget.

But CSU chancellor spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp said the university can’t afford those raises in the face of staggering cuts in state support for California’s public colleges.

“It’s not fiscally responsible for us to be paying $20 million in salary increases to one group of employees when we did receive massive cuts,” he said.

The spokesman acknowledged that some newly hired CSU presidents in recent years have been offered heftier paychecks than their predecessors, but noted that there have also been faculty members who received salary increases during that time.

Jennifer Eagan, a CSU East Bay professor of philosophy and public affairs and administration, said today that the union’s planned strike is about providing students with a quality education.

“Our working conditions are student learning conditions and they’re being eroded, and that’s what we’re concerned about,” Eagan said today. “We don’t take this lightly. We care very deeply about our students–that’s really why we are doing this.”

Faculty members at CSU campuses statewide are expected to form informational picket lines Tuesday to educate the public about declining working conditions and income inequalities.

Laura Dixon, Bay City News

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