Cal State University faculty take a strike vote

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CSULA Student Union Photo: Justefrain/Creative Commons

About 25,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors, and other staff throughout the California State University system have been voting on whether to give their union the authority to call a strike. The strike vote is scheduled to wrap up this Wednesday.

At the heart of it is a dispute over pay. Management is offering a 2 percent across the board pay raise—faculty and staff are calling for 5 percent.

The Cal State system did get an additional $97 million from the state this year. Faculty and staff say they deserve part of that. But university leaders say Cal State is still hundreds of millions of dollars in the hole after being hit with major state funding cuts during the recession.

Josh Delaney is the higher education reporter with the Long Beach Press Telegram. He says the Cal State system also has a lot of items on its to-do list that require some serious money. Among them, expanding course offerings to make it easier for students to graduate in four years and addressing over $1 billion in deferred maintenance.

“More people see the need to go to college, send their kids to college and yet the problem now is the issue of bottleneck courses. You have too many students, not enough classrooms, not enough faculty,” Delaney told KCRW this week.

Delaney says if faculty and staff give their union the go-ahead to call a walkout, the earliest possible date for a strike that he’s heard of would be sometime in January.

Listen to the full interview with Delaney below.