California State University Crippled by Strike

( – America’s biggest public university system was hit by a major setback recently after nearly 30,000 faculty walked out in a massive strike demanding higher wages.

Almost 30,000 university professors, coaches, librarians, and other faculty staff walked off the job on Monday, Jan. 22, for a planned week-long strike to pressure California State University to increase wages and meet other demands. The massive walkout happened across all of the university’s 23 campuses two weeks after contract negotiations ended, during which CSU officials offered only a 5% pay raise for 2024.

The union initially sought a 12% increase and was immediately outraged by the decision. The 5% increase is scheduled to kick in at the end of the month. One of the staff who picketed, a part-time lecturer Victoria Wilson, said she walked out for the strike to demand higher pay.

The strike led to class cancelations for more than 450,000 students across the state and pressured the university into making a deal with the strikers. The union and CSU reached a tentative agreement late on Monday, Jan. 22, after only one day of the planned 5-day demonstration.

One San Diego State University professor, Charles Toombs, praised the decision and said their strike “worked” and gained the union “a contract that gives something to everyone.” He added that he and other strikers were “faithful” in their commitment to their proposals, which he said had to do with “racial and social justice.” Toombs called the tentative contract “a win” for lecturers who are paid the lowest wages.

The new agreement applies to the California Faculty Association’s 29,000 members and includes a general salary raise for all faculty beginning in July. The agreement also raised the salary floor for faculty paid the lowest and extended parental leave to 10 weeks. There were “social justice” initiatives in there as well, such as improving access to “gender-inclusive” bathrooms and a mandatory union representative’s presence during all dealings with the police.

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