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CFA faculty begins 5-day labor strike at SDSU, Cal State San Marcos

CFA faculty begins 5-day labor strike at SDSU, Cal State San Marcos
Posted at 5:22 PM, Jan 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-22 21:34:33-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Amid the rain, faculty at San Diego State University and Cal State San Marcos were on the picket lines for day one of a planned week-long labor strike.

Faculty chanted in the rain at various entrance points to SDSU, demanding a ‘fair contract.’

“It’s pouring down raining, and it’s cold, and our faculty is out here,” said SDSU professor and California Faculty Association Charles Toombs.

On the campus and at Cal State San Marcos, along with 21 others across the state, it was day one of a planned five-day labor strike, believed to be the largest university faculty strike in U.S. history.

“We certainly hope that the strike will bring the CSU back to table with fair offer,” said Coombs.

The faculty union is asking for a 12% raise in a new 3-year contract. Other issues include parental leave, health and safety concerns and class sizes.

“It sounds like a tagline, but it’s true. The faculty's working conditions are the students’ learning conditions,” said SDSU librarian Kate Holvoet.

California State University officials are offering a 5% raise. They say agreeing to the union's demands would mean layoffs and cuts to important programs.

In a statement, the CSU said, “We respect the rights of the faculty union and their members to engage in strike activity and remain hopeful that we can reach an agreement with the California Faculty Association (CFA) for the sake of our students, faculty, the system and the state.”

CSU officials also insisted that classes hadn’t been canceled, but both campuses were quiet that day as the spring semester began.

ABC 10News spoke with professors who said they knew of a few faculty holding classes this week.

"I'm enrolled in five classes, none of which are meeting this week," Jacob Nichols said.

Nichols, a senior at SDSU, says he supports the faculty going on strike but is upset that the talks are now impacting student education.

“The frustrating part is I'm paying a lot of money to attend school, and now I’m not able to do so because of the negotiations,” said Nichols.

Nichols said some professors have sent out study guides and reading materials to help students.

A similar strike was averted when the Teamsters union reached a tentative agreement with CSU on Friday.