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California State University professors' strike: Details and outcome

California State University professors' strike: Details and outcome California university professors strike for higher pay (Getty Images)

Thousands of educators across the California State University system stopped working as a protest for higher payments on Monday. This strike was supposed to last until January 26, affecting almost 460,000 students in the nation's largest public university system, but the agreement was reached, according to The New York Times and CNN.

The California Faculty Association, representing 29,000 professors, librarians, counselors, and coaches, organized a five-day strike across all 23 CSU campuses. This strike is part of a national trend of larger strikes and more walkouts in education.

The strike was supposed to last until January 26, but the agreement was reached shortly after it started.

What were the demands

Negotiations between CSU. leaders and the faculty have been ongoing since May. The union planned the strike after the university offered a 5% raise, while they were seeking a 12% increase. The union was also pushing for better working conditions, more support for students' mental health, expanded paid parental leave, and a higher minimum salary for the lowest-paid full-time employees.

"We are fighting against management’s self-defeating austerity policies that serve to shift funding away from classrooms, labs, libraries, athletics, and counseling centers,” the association said in a statement.

The dissatisfaction among faculty members arose because universities are relying more on part-time instructors with very low starting pay. This reflects a broader issue of workers in various industries facing challenges with wages not keeping up with inflation and high living costs.

How the university reacted

The university said that the demands were too expensive and exceeded the budget they had. The university offered a 5% pay increase each year for the next three years.

“If we were to agree to the increase that these unions are demanding, we would have to make severe cuts to programs,” the university system’s Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Leora Freedman said. “We would have to lay off employees — this would jeopardize our educational mission.”

The university argued that it already spent a significant portion of its budget on staff compensation and could not afford the proposed salary increases without making severe cuts.


The deal includes increasing salaries for all faculty by 5% retroactively to July 1, 2023, with another 5% raise slated for July 1, 2024, according to union officials. It also raises the salary floor for the lowest-paid full-time employees by $3,000 and includes the increase of parental leave to 10 weeks from 6. The faculty members return to work on Tuesday, union officials said.

“I am extremely pleased and deeply appreciative that we have reached common ground with CFA that will end the strike immediately,” Mildred García, the California State University Chancellor, said in a statement.