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Cal State Teachers Authorize Strikes

Teachers voted overwhelmingly to authorize two-day rolling strikes at the system's 23 campuses in response to what their union calls needlessly drawn-out contract negotiations.

California State University teachers voted overwhelmingly to authorize two-day rolling strikes at the system's 23 campuses in response to what their union calls needlessly drawn-out contract negotiations.

The vote by members of the California Faculty Association does not necessarily mean a strike will be called, it is just an authorization for the union's leadership to call one.

"We have said all along that we do not want to strike, but we will if that is what is necessary," CFA President Lillian Taiz, a professor of history at Cal State Los Angeles, said.

She added that the union's membership has "run out of patience" with the contract talks, and have "had enough of executives putting themselves about the needs of the students and of the public university."

"Enough of managers using budget cuts as an excuse to destroy the quality of students' education," she said.

Union officials said a strike at the 23 CSU campuses would be the largest "in the history of American higher education."

Meetings are scheduled this week to see if the contract talks can get back on track.

CFA teachers staged a one-day strike in November at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson and Cal State East Bay in Hayward.

The union contends the university system is trying to move more courses into its "for-profit" extension programs while paying faculty less money to teach them. The union is also contesting proposed increases in class sizes, the lack of salary increases over the past two academic years, and the possibility of lower wages and benefits in the future.

CSU spokeswoman Claudia Keith said that union members had received $60 million in pay raises over the previous three years. CSU officials also have insisted that the university was hard-hit by a $650 million cut in state funding.

In November, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a 9 percent tuition hike for the 2012-13 school year. Tuition will increase by $498, meaning undergraduate student fees will go from $5,472 in 2011-12 to $5,970 for 2012- 13. With campus-specific fees added in, the total cost for undergraduate students will be more than $7,000 for the full year.

The increase will be on top of a 12 percent tuition hike that took effect this school year, and a 9 percent increase imposed in 2010.

Keith has said a strike-authorization vote was a "premature" step since negotiations were still continuing with the union.

Milan Moravec May 04, 2012 at 03:27 AM
CSU follows the lead o the University of California Berkeley. UC Berkeley Chancellor makes Cal. farther and farther out of reach for the sons and daughters of Californians. UCB Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau is outspoken on why elite public universities, like Cal, should charge Californians more. With Birgeneau’s leadership UCB is more expensive (on an all-in-cost) than private Harvard and Yale. Chancellor Birgeneau’s ‘charge more’ tuition make Cal. the most expensive public higher education in our country! Birgeneau ($450,000 salary) likes to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar expected. The Chancellor’s ‘charge more’ instate tuition skyrocketed fees by an average 14% per year from 2006 to 2011-12 academic year. If Birgeneau had allowed fees to rise at the same rate of inflation over the past 10 years they would still be in reach of most middle income students. Increasing funding is not Cal’s solution. UCB is a public university created to maximize access to the widest number of instate students at a reasonable cost with a mission of diversity and equality of opportunity. Birgeneau’s and Provost George Breslauer’s ($306,000 salary) ‘charge more’ instate tuition denies middle income Californians the transformative value of university education. Chancellor Birgeneau’s tenure is a sad unacceptable legacy. Opinion to: UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu and Calif. State Senators and Assembly members.

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