S.F. Examiner file photo

Potential for largest-ever CSU strike advances

California State University faculty are legally allowed to strike next month if a contract agreement is not reached with the university system.

Such is the outcome following the release Monday of a fact-finding report that marked the last step in the statutory collective bargaining process between CSU leaders and the California Faculty Association, which represents more than 26,000 faculty, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches at 23 campuses in the state, including San Francisco State University.

The possible strike comes after more than a year of unsuccessful contract negotiations in which the union is pushing for a 5 percent salary increase, while Chancellor Timothy White and CSU management have countered with a 2 percent increase, according to education officials.

The faculty union’s board of directors had previously authorized the union to strike from April 13-15 and April 18-19, marking the largest strike for CSU faculty since the university system was created in 1960.

Union leaders reiterated Monday the strike will take place next month if no deal is reached.

CSU leaders, however, stated the fact-finding report acknowledges it would cost $110 million for the university system to agree to the salary increases proposed by the union, and that such a cost would be challenging for the university to support.

“As a fiscally responsible public entity, the CSU cannot commit to spend money it does not have,” CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said in a statement.

The union, however, chalked up the report as a recommendation that the university system should increase faculty’s salary by 5 percent, among other requests.

“The fact-finder’s report unambiguously supports the union’s bargaining proposal of a 5 percent pay raise for all CSU faculty and an SSI. A neutral, outside voice has confirmed that these raises are affordable, reasonable, justified, and necessary,” CFA President Jennifer Eagan said in a statement.

Fact-finding is the final stage of the statutory process. Because a resolution was not reached during fact-finding, a 10-day blackout period occurred before the report could become public. Now that the report was made public Monday, faculty may legally strike.

Administrators said last month that should a strike occur, campuses will remain open and many classes will still be offered.

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