|Image from Recollection Books|
In April, the Faculty Union of the California State University system began the strike authorization process. The votes are finally in: 70% of the organization’s 12,501 members voted and 95% of them said yes to a two-day rolling strike at the university’s 23 campuses, should negotiations break down again, the Los Angeles Times reported this week. The strike would most likely occur at the beginning of the Fall, 2012, semester.
The union represents over 23,000 CSU professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches. About 54% of them are dues-paying members, but they all will be represented by the new contract, which would make it the largest university strike in U.S. history.
The union and the university have been haggling for 22 months with little sign of an accord on the horizon. The faculty is asking for an infinitesimal 1% pay increase, which might not even cover cost of living increases. They are also asking for greater control over class sizes and increased job protections for faculty working under temporary contracts.
Administrators and regents are, not surprisingly, crying poverty and pointing to the state’s yearly multi-billion dollar deficits. Indeed, CSU’s budget was slashed by $750 million this fiscal year and is looking at another $200-million cut next year if voters do not approve a tax initiative on this November’s ballot. Yet the regents have had no problem finding the resources to give 10% raises to many university administrators, including a 25% ($100,000) raise to SDSU’s new president.