CSU faculty threaten strike unless 5 percent salary increase met

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tension is building on state college campuses as faculty try to renegotiate their contract. At stake is better pay and more tenured faculty.

Fresno State faculty and at other Cal State Universities are asking for a 5-percent salary increase. They say after going seven years without a raise, they're willing to strike to get the compensation they deserve.

The labor union representing 23,000 faculty on all CSU campuses has reopened negotiations for the second year of their contract.

They are hoping the Chancellor will agree to a 5-% salary increase for every employee.

CFA Fresno State Chapter President Diane Blair says, "Our salaries are not keeping pace with what our fellow educators are making across the state. That includes not only the U-C system but the community college system, the K-12 system. People teaching in the CSU are falling behind."

CSU has offered a 2-percent salary increase into the pool of all faculty on campus, to be distributed accordingly.

In a teleconference held for the media, California Faculty Association President Jennifer Eagan likened working for a CSU to working at McDonald's, with faculty making on-average less than other professions that require less schooling.

Bargaining officials told us the CSU Chancellor has acted disrespectful during negotiations.

Kevin Where, CFA, says "During presentations at the bargaining table, our management teams acted bored. They played around with their phones, checked their email and they were unconcerned."

Eagan says, "More and more jobs in the CSU are being treated like jobs in fast food, hiring teachers for classes just before the school year starts, into temporary appointments that are much lower pay."

Professor Blair told Action News that conditions for professors on campus directly affect conditions for students.

At Fresno State 58% of faculty are part time. CFA has been urging the state to hire more full-time, tenure-track professors and provide more competitive pay to keep faculty here in Fresno.

Blair says, "And when you have faculty having to run off campus to go to another job to make ends meet that means less time for students on our campus."

CSU faculty across the state will vote on whether or not to strike between October 19th and 28th. At that time, if a strike is approved, they'll decide when and for how many days the strike will go on.

The strike could shut down classes on all 28 CSU campuses.
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