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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

CSU Faculty Rallies For A Raise

Will 26,000 university employees go on strike for increased salaries? Voting began today for CSU faculty to decide whether they will authorize a strike for wage increases. The faculty expressed greivances in a rally on the Calif. State University Long Beach campus Monday.

Members of the California Faculty Association (CFA) began voting Monday on whether to approve a strike for higher wages. The union held a rally on the campus of California State University (CSU) Long Beach, where professors, counselors and students gathered to express their desire for a five percent salary hike.

Dr. Mike Chavez says teaching is a 'labor of love.' (Photo by Madeline White, Annenberg TV News)
Dr. Mike Chavez says teaching is a 'labor of love.' (Photo by Madeline White, Annenberg TV News)

“The average full-time faculty member at California State University makes about $43,000 a year. The average salary in California is $48,000 a year,” said CFA union chapter president Douglas Domingo-Foraste.

CFA’s goal is for its 26,000 members to finally earn the compensation they feel they deserve from the university system, which runs 23 campuses across California. If a strike is authorized, however, do not expect employees to ditch their classrooms immediately. Labor talks will decide whether concrete action is taken, according to a press release.

CSU Director of Public Relations Toni Molle said that, in the last two years alone, the university has invested nearly $130 million of union compensation—and about half of that went towards faculty.

Still, some faculty members believe that it is not enough.

“We haven’t had an increase of any serious proportions in over ten years,” Domingo-Foraste said. “We had a little point .06 percent increase about four years ago, and we had a 1.6 increase last year. And we make below what everybody else in our profession makes.”

Faculty members discuss the wages they feel they deserve. (Photo by Madeline White, Annenberg TV News)
Faculty members discuss the wages they feel they deserve. (Photo by Madeline White, Annenberg TV News)

During the rally, CFA affirmative action representative Brandon Gamble explained that he has two teenagers who will be in college soon. “Having to pay back these loans has me having to take a second job,” he said.

Faculty members hope not only for increased salaries, but also additional compensation based on years of service. CSU Long Beach Professor Dr. Mike Chavez, who has worked for the school for nine years, said, “We are very devoted to our jobs. We know that it’s a labor of love. We know that there’s sacrifices. It’s just such a heartbreaking disappointment when over and over and over again, administration can’t show us that they are equally devoted to us.”

Despite the $68.9 million funding gap between the union and university salary proposals, the university affirmed its willingness to reach an agreement. “The CSU is committed to the collective bargaining process and to reaching a negotiated settlement with the California Faculty Association,” said Molle.

Voting will conclude on October 28th at 5 p.m.

(Infographic by Madeline White, Annenberg TV News)
(Infographic by Madeline White, Annenberg TV News)

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