POMONA, Calif. (CNS) -- The faculty union at Cal Poly Pomona staged a one-day strike Monday, the first of several such actions this week at California State University schools statewide as the union negotiates a new labor contract.
Pickets began at 7 a.m. and are expected to run through 7 p.m. Monday at the Cal Poly campus, with a noon rally, the California Faculty Association said in a statement last week.
The union said that one-day strikes were also planned for Tuesday at San Francisco State, Wednesday at CSU Los Angeles and Thursday at Sacramento State unless California State University management presents serious, fair and reasonable proposals to address long-standing inequities.''
Members of Teamsters Local 2010, which is also in the midst of contract talks with CSU management, is planning sympathy strikes in support of the faculty union, the CFA said.
Besides faculty, Monday's action at Cal Poly Pomona is expected to include Teamsters, students, staff, community leaders and local elected officials.
The CFA says it is fighting for 12% wage hikes this academic year plus other concessions, including better parental leave, workload support and health and safety rights.
Cal State said Friday that while it is prepared to agree to many of the union's demands contained in a neutral fact-finder report, a 12% general salary increase is not sustainable for the CSU system.
"CSU strives to provide fair, competitive pay and benefits for all of our employees," Leora Freedman, CSU's vice chancellor for human resources, said in a statement. "We recognize the need to increase compensation and are committed to doing so, but our financial commitments must be fiscally sustainable."
As for CFA's one-day strikes, Freedman indicated that such actions are often part of negotiations.
"We respect the right of our labor unions to engage in strike activities, and we are prepared to minimize any disruptions to our campuses," she said.
"Our hope is that the planned strike activities pose no hardships on our students and that we can get back to the bargaining table as soon as possible with the CFA to come to an agreement.''
The CFA represents more than 29,000 tenure-line instructional faculty, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches on CSU's 23 campuses.
"Rent, childcare, groceries and the costs of basic necessities have gone up by double digits over the past few years," Anne Luna, CFA Sacramento president and a Cal State Sacramento professor, said in a statement last week. "Our faculty are some of the lowest-paid educators in the state. They desperately need a lifeline."
Luna said that while CSU is rejecting the union's pay demand, an independent auditor who reviewed the public university system's budget said that 12% is, in fact, workable for CSU.
"We know management can afford our proposals," she said. "They can afford to provide fair compensation and safe working conditions. It's time to stop funneling tuition and taxpayer money into a top-heavy administration. It's time to put the money where it belongs, to support the faculty and students of the CSU."
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