College faculty and supporters protest in front of the library at San Jose State University.
San Jose State University faculty and other employees stood in the rain in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library on Jan. 22, 2024 demanding fair wages. The action was part of a planned five-day strike across the California State University system. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

Striking San Jose State University faculty stood in the rain in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library on Monday demanding fair wages, and by late last night a tentative deal was reached.

After one day, the California State University strike across 23 campuses was over. The California Faculty Association and CSU management agreed to a retroactive 5% raise to July 1, 2023, which had been offered for the past several months, according to CalMatters. Faculty will also receive a 5% salary increase starting July 1, 2024, based on Cal State receiving at least the same amount of state funding approved last summer. Cal State also agreed to an increase in paid parental leave from six to 10 weeks.

​“I am extremely pleased and deeply appreciative that we have reached common ground with CFA that will end the strike immediately,” CSU Chancellor Mildred Garcia said in a statement. “The agreement enables the CSU to fairly compensate its valued, world-class faculty while protecting the university system’s long-term financial sustainability. With the agreement in place, I look forward to advancing our student-centered work — together — as the nation’s greatest driver of social mobility and the pipeline fueling California’s diverse and educated workforce.”

Across CSU’s universities, CFA represents approximately 29,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches.

CFA-SJSU Chapter President Ray Buyco said the average full-time lecturer’s salary is $54,000. On average, he said a new professor receives $80,000. He said faculty will get a $3,000 per year raise retroactive to June 30, 2023 and will receive another $3,000 raise on June 30 this year.

“That’s a significant movement for thousands of our faculty members,” he told San José Spotlight. “While this is still a very low salary for full-time teachers, it is significant movement on the poverty wages the CSU had established.”

Chris Cox, (left) CFA associate vice president for racial and social justice, said CSU management needs to get serious about faculty working conditions and pay. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

The faculty union wanted a 12% pay raise, which the chancellor’s office said would cost $312 million this year. CSU spokesperson Hazel Kelly said the faculty’s demands, including life insurance increases, would add another $68 million for a total of $380 million.

“This is financially unrealistic,” Kelly told San José Spotlight. “Their request far surpasses the state funding increase CSU received in last year’s state budget ($227 million) and is more than the entire budget of Cal Poly Pomona ($369 million).”

SJSU President Cynthia Teniente-Matson said she is pleased both sides reached an agreement and the strike has ended.

“We look forward to having all employees back at work tomorrow, and classes will begin as scheduled on Wednesday,” she said in a statement.

Michelle Smith McDonald, spokesperson for San Jose State University, previously said the estimated fiscal impact to SJSU would be $21 million.

“Our campus is already in a budget-reduction cycle and is already experiencing reductions in all areas for the 23-24 academic year,” she told San Jose Spotlight. “Entering 23-24 (fiscal year) SJSU had a structural deficit of $14.7 million.”

San Jose State University student Cole Mitchell believes it’s important to fight for everyone’s rights in education. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

San Jose State University sociology student Cole Mitchell, 20, supported the faculty strike. Mitchell, in his junior year, said he was OK if the strike continued beyond its planned five days as students are more affected by overburdened teachers. He said some low-paid faculty work at several universities to get by in the expensive Bay Area.

“Working multiple jobs to provide an education for students to enrich the rest of the world is a crime,” he told San José Spotlight. “For students especially, it brings into (focus) what could possibly happen to us in the near future, and I think that’s why it’s incredibly important to stand up with faculty.”

Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected].

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