LOS ANGELES --The union that represents California State University faculty said Monday it is preparing for a five-day strike at the system's 23 campuses, by far the largest walkout since professors and instructors won collective bargaining rights in the early 1980s.
The California Faculty Association's board of directors voted Friday night to schedule a strike for April 13-15 and April 18-19 unless Cal State administrators before then increase the size of the pay raises the union's 26,000 members will receive this school year, President Jennifer Eagan said.
The strike holds the potential to bring the campuses to a virtual standstill. The association represents counselors, librarians and coaches as well as faculty members who would cancel classes and skip scheduled office hours to walk picket lines, Eagan said.
"The strike would be a historic strike," Eagan said. "If it happens, it will impact the CSU for a very long time."
Allied labor organizations that represent custodians, bus drivers and other support staff have agreed not to cross the lines, if a work stoppage is called, she said.
The CSU chancellor's office did not have immediate comment on the union's plans. The administration previously has said the raises the union is seeking would cost $69 million that already has been pledged to increasing enrollment, hiring more faculty, and initiatives to improve graduation rates.
Union members currently are in the second-year of a three-year contract that included across-the-board pay raises of 1.6 percent and 3 percent raises for some coaches and part-time instructors for the 2014-15 school year.
Under that contract, salaries for subsequent years have to be renegotiated and the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement since talks resumed in May. The faculty association is seeking a 5 percent salary increase for 2015-16. The university is offering raises of 2 percent.
The labor dispute is currently in the hands of an independent fact-finding panel that is scheduled to release its findings next month. If a resolution still can't be reached, the faculty would be authorized to strike.
CSU campuses enroll about 460,000 students, making it the nation's largest public university system. Although the faculty union held a one-day work stoppage at two campuses in 2011, the system has not been subject to a full faculty strike since system-wide collective bargaining began in the early 1980s.