CSU professors prepared to strike

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An on-going salary dispute led CSU faculty members to overwhelmingly approve a strike authorization.

The vote represented over 25,000 members from 23 campuses around the state. Many CSU professors like Andrew Jones at Fresno State have been wearing shirts which say "I don't want to strike, but I will."

The CSU system has offered a 2-percent raise to faculty members, but the union wants 5-percent. 94-percent of the faculty and librarians voted "Yes" to authorize a strike. English professor Lisa Weston is vice-president of the Fresno State chapter of the California Faculty Association. Weston said, "That says our faculty are fed up and they're not going to be kept silent and they are not going to sit by and say okay give us the crumbs. They're saying this is what we need. This is the respect we need."

Weston added faculty members have lost ground on salaries over the past 8-10 years. But CSU Chancellor Timothy White has a lot of confidence in the system. He said, "The CSU had a multiple year disinvestment down economy and it's going to take several years to dig out of the down economy. Since I've been chancellor we've invested in all of our employee's salaries in ways that the economy allowed."

Faculty members planned to rally outside the chancellor's office in Long Beach on November 17th. Two buses from Fresno State were expected. Weston said it has been a long, frustrating process. "I'll be professorial and bring some hoity-toity reference into it. It's like Sisyphus rolling the rock up the mountain and it keeps rolling down and you have to roll it up back again."

A third-party fact-finding group was expected to report back to both sides in January.

If the salary dispute is not settled a strike could impact the start of the spring semester.
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