Cal State system reaches tentative agreement with faculty on salary

California Faculty Association. (Courtesy of CFA)

Faculty in the nation’s largest public university system agreed to end their historic strike against the California State University system late Monday evening.

The faculty union, which represents more than 29,000 professors, lecturers, librarians and coaches, agreed to a 5% general salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2023, and a 5% general salary increase on July 1, 2024, as long as the state does not reduce Cal State’s base funding this summer.

Monday marked the first day of a planned one-week strike. The system’s nearly 450,000 students saw many of their classes canceled as faculty protested. However, the new agreement means all faculty will return to campuses and their classes on Tuesday.

“The collective action of so many lecturers, professors, counselors, librarians and coaches over these last eight months forced CSU management to take our demands seriously,” said Charles Toombs, president of the California Faculty Association, the union. “This tentative agreement makes major gains for all faculty at the CSU.”

The agreement would raise the salary floor for the lowest paid faculty by increasing minimum pay by about $3,000 retroactive to July 1 and raising it again by $3,000 this summer. It also expands paid parental leave from six to 10 weeks.

Other highlights from the agreement include improved access to gender-inclusive restrooms and lactation spaces, increased protection for faculty who have negative interactions with campus police officers, and additional support for lecturers.

The agreement extends the current contract for 2022-24 one year to June 30, 2025.

“I am extremely pleased and deeply appreciative that we have reached common ground with CFA that will end the strike immediately,” CSU Chancellor Mildred García said. “The agreement enables the CSU to fairly compensate its valued, world-class faculty while protecting the university system’s long-term financial sustainability. With the agreement in place, I look forward to advancing our student-centered work — together — as the nation’s greatest driver of social mobility and the pipeline fueling California’s diverse and educated workforce.” 

The university system is encouraging students to look for messages from their instructors about adjusting their classes this week. Faculty will vote to ratify the new agreement in the coming weeks.

“This historic agreement was won because of members’ solidarity, collective action, bravery, and love for each other and our students,” said Antonio Gallo, an instructor on the Northridge campus. “This is what People Power looks like. This deal immensely improves working conditions for faculty and strengthens learning conditions for students.”

The agreement marks another victory for education laborers, the union said, especially following similar strikes at the University of California and the University of Southern California.

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