SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Thousands of California State University faculty members may decide to go on strike over what they say is pay that doesn’t keep pace with inflation.
Faculty members are voting online and in person at the CSU’s 23 campuses statewide.
“Our wages have been stagnant, but the cost of living keeps going up,” said Sacramento State professor and local faculty association president Kevin Wehr.
He says CSU faculty are sticking to their guns, demanding a 5 percent raise, or nearly 26,000 educators could walk off the job.
“It’s really just one issue and that is salary,” he said. “The administration offered the faculty a 2 percent raise last fall, the faculty rejected that, it’s too small, doesn’t even keep up with inflation.”
Wehr says they’ve been tightening their belts too long, and that the CSU administrators have been keeping talented faculty part-time to save money.
The shutdown of 23 campuses across the state isn’t something the faculty wants, Wehr said. They want to be teaching.
“I can’t do that without adequate compensation,” he said.
The CSU system issued a statement on Monday.
“The CSU is and remains committed to the collective bargaining process and to reaching a negotiated settlement with the California Faculty Association. A strike is not in the best interest of CSU students.”
The vote results authorizing a strike won’t be back until early November. If a strike were to take place, finals would be safe as it would likely happen after the holidays.
Even if a vote happened, that doesn’t mean the strike will be automatic. Wehr says the faculty authorized a strike in 2007 and 2012, but came to an agreement before they happened. In 2011, another strike was authorized and two campuses walked off the job before an agreement came.
“In the past we did a one day strike on two campuses, we’ve also considered rolling strikes where we would go out on strike Tuesday and Wednesday on this campus and the next week on a different campus,” he said.