The week before Christmas, another hard-fought deal was struck to prevent a strike from hitting California’s public universities.
California State University and its faculty association have tentatively agreed on a new contract, thwarting a possible work stoppage after 20 months of negotiations. the the offer includes a general increase of 4% retroactive to July 1, 2021, another 4% increase on July 1, 2022, plus a $3,500 COVID bonus in recognition of the colossal disruption to teaching as classes moved online in the 2020 school year -21.
Increases and bonuses correspond to what was wanted by the California Faculty Association, which represents 29,000 teachers, lecturers, counselors and others, including some athletic trainers. The CSU administration had previously only offered 2%, and the two sides were so far apart that they moved to a tougher stage of state mediation, Mikhail says.
Things looked so bad that union leaders were telling members to start warning students about a possible walkout and spring class cancellations at CSU, the nation’s largest public university system with nearly 500,000 students. CFA leaders attributed the deal to faculty activism, including petitions presented to campus presidents in early November and a Nov. 9 rally at the CSU Trustee Meeting.
Charles Toombs, CFA President, said, “Our new contract was made possible because faculty members were united in demanding our rights, respect and justice.
The agreement is subject to a ratification vote by CFA members and approval by the CSU Board of Directors.
It follows a series of other working agreements:
The settlements show that the ivory tower is not immune to increase in worker activism during the COVID-19 pandemic – think “Striketober” and the “Great Resignation” – and the historic power of organized labor in California.