The CSU strike lasted only one day, due to management coming to a compromise with the union.
Professors and faculty members across the 23 California State University (CSU) campuses are pushing back as they demand a 12% increase in pay. Insufficient funds have led lecturers, professors and librarians to stage a walkout. This five-day strike turned into one as management agreed on a 5% raise.
Ken Jacobs, the co-chair for the department of the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley, has commented that the paychecks received do not match the cost of living.
In an interview with The New York Times, Jacobs said, “Given that Cal State is the largest university system in the country, this is a very significant strike…We’re starting off this year looking a lot like last year.”
Professors and faculty members have found themselves in a similar position in previous years. Yet, nothing changes, and the strike continues to move forward.
Chris Cox, a lecturer at San Jose State University, believes that working conditions must be fixed. Cox said, “In order for us to have a properly functioning system in years to come, we need to improve the working conditions for faculty and learning conditions for students.”
However, Cal State chancellor, Mildred Garcia argues that the college staff and professors’ pursuits are not financially feasible for them.
The union disagrees with her claim because they believe that the university has money to spare. There is cash in the “flush reserve accounts” and $766 million CSU emergency reserves, that the union thinks could be put to good use. CSU San Bernardino professor, Dr. Rong Chen goes further to say that their requests are reasonable, but the university doesn’t have their priorities in order.
A little over a year ago around 48,000 University of California researchers, teaching assistants and academic workers walked out for five weeks, resulting in major improvements in working conditions. People expected this to be a stepping stone for labor union empowerment in the future.
Now that the 2024 CSU strike ended in 24 hours, some faculty members and professors are upset. Leda Ramos, a lecturer of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) studies at Cal State Los Angeles, believes that the strike ended abruptly. She wants to ensure that the voices of the union are heard. Ramos held an emergency meeting on Jan. 24 in order to hear from the members.
2018 held the highest number of workers on strike, making it the biggest one since 1986, according to Virginia Parks, faculty director of UC Irvine Labor Center. This issue has been an ongoing problem, professors are facing larger class sizes with little pay.
Kendall Ward, a 21-year-old student at Sacramento State, believes professors’ working conditions affect the students’ learning environment. Ward said, “I think the main thing I’ve learned here is that faculty conditions are student learning conditions.”
The faculty members and professors are not only fighting for themselves but for their students as well.