LOS ANGELES (AP) — The union that represents faculty, counselors, librarians and coaches at the 23 California State University campuses announced Wednesday that members have voted to authorize a strike if contract negotiations fail.
Ninety-four percent of California Faculty Association members who participated in the 10-day vote online and in person said they favored striking if a resolution can’t be reached at the bargaining table.
The vote is at least the fourth the CFA has held in eight years.
The union represents 25,000 university employees and has been negotiating with the Cal State system since May over the size of pay raises members will get this school year. The faculty association is seeking a 5 percent salary increase along with a 2.7 percent pay bump based on years of service. The university is offering raises of 2 percent.
“We do not want to strike, but we will if we’re forced to,” said Kevin Wehr, the chair of CFA’s bargaining team.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Cal State said the university system remains committed to the collective bargaining process and reaching a negotiated agreement.
Two fact finding hearings will take place over the next five weeks. If a resolution still can’t be reached, the faculty would be authorized to strike.
Union officials said if a strike were to occur it would likely take place in early 2016.
“We are ready to act if necessary and for as long as it takes,” Jennifer Eagan, president of the CFA, told supporters gathered inside a San Jose State University classroom.
“I don’t wanna strike but I will!” people chanted in the background.
Eagan said the contract talks were about “the bread and butter issue of salary” but also the future direction of CSU.
“The vision of what the CSU is, who it serves, and what it can be in the future is at stake,” she said.