Cal State teachers’ union backs new deal after historic strike


Los Angeles, California – After a long period of talks and a historic strike across the system, the Cal State teachers’ union has strongly backed a new deal with the college. This deal could boost pay by 10% and offer extra perks, such as more parental leave, the union shared on Monday.

Charles Toombs, the head of the California Faculty Association, stated that 76% of those who voted were in favor of the deal. He praised the vote as proof of the union’s “unity, discussions, and bravery in pushing CSU’s leaders for better conditions for teachers and students.”

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The fresh agreement with California State University promises a 5% salary increase for all teachers starting from July 2023 and another 5% rise from this July, assuming the state does not cut the funding for the 23-campus network. It also includes 10 weeks of paid leave for new parents, a higher minimum pay for the least-paid teachers, and better access to bathrooms that everyone can use.

The CSU Chancellor’s Office briefly mentioned they were happy with the union’s voting outcome and expected the university’s board to officially approve it in their March meeting.

A group of members had argued against the deal, saying it didn’t fully tackle issues of fairness and big changes needed. The agreement was made after just one day of what was supposed to be a five-day strike in late January, which nearly stopped classes in the largest public four-year university system in the country.

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Some members felt the union leaders agreed too quickly to the preliminary deal, arguing that continuing the strike would have given them more power to negotiate a better agreement. The leadership teams of four CSU union branches in Long Beach, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and San Francisco officially opposed the provisional deal.

Nevertheless, the union’s leaders believed they had secured the best agreement possible and were confident last week it would be approved.

Will Clark, an assistant professor at San Francisco State University, was not in favor of the initial deal but noted on Monday that the disagreement within the union showed its members were more involved.

“Dissent and disagreements are good parts of the democratic process,” he said. “People disagreed, so more people got involved.”

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He said he hopes the union can move forward as a cohesive group. “One thing that everyone feels strongly about is that the union is stronger together,” he said.

Andrew Delunas, a lecturer at San Jose State University who supported the agreement, mentioned that the voting results indicate the union is more united than it might seem.

“The fact that we were able to approve the tentative agreement with 76% of the vote shows there is still unanimity in the union,” he said.

This deal was made during a critical time of renegotiation, allowing for adjustments to an existing agreement before its end. The newly accepted terms extend the current contract until June 2025.

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The California Faculty Association, representing 29,000 faculty, professors, lecturers, counselors, librarians, and coaches, initially asked for a 12% salary increase and a full semester’s parental leave, among other things. Union leaders admitted there were some disagreements among members in their announcement about the vote’s outcome.

“We know that some members had strong concerns about the process and questions about the result,” said Sharon Elise, CFA associate vice president of Racial & Social Justice, South, and Cal State San Marcos professor, in a statement. “We will only be successful if we’re working together to continue building a CSU that empowers students and provides work environments that support faculty and staff.”

Meghan O’Donnell, a member of the union’s board and negotiation team, was happy that many union members backed the deal.

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“I’m very grateful and proud that the vast majority of our members recognized how good this tentative agreement really was and have voted to support it,” she said. “Although I know that some of our members wanted a different outcome, I’m confident we will all come together, as we always do.”

Jack Wolf
Jack Wolf
Jack is Long Beach native and proud member of US News Hub team. Jack knows best what Long Beach residents want and need to hear as he is one of them. At US News Hub, Jack is the one responsible for local news in Los Angeles county, with the focus on the Long Beach area.

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