Thousands of faculty members at California State University, the largest university system in the United States, have walked off the job on the first day of spring semester classes for much for the university system’s 450,000 students.
CNN reports that the striking staff are part of the California Faculty Association, which represents professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors, and coaches, across 23 campuses.
The union says its members are seeking “wages that keep pace with the cost of living and set a livable minimum standard for our lowest paid faculty.”
The strike is temporary and will end on Jan. 26, according to the union. As of now, no bargaining sessions have been scheduled.
In addition to pay raises, the union is seeking more manageable workloads, more mental health services for students and expanded paid parental leave.
In a statement, Cal State said it “remains committed to supporting our students and entering into labor agreements that do not result in cuts to the academic and student supportive programs that make the CSU the most diverse and transformative university system in the nation.”
The union has been bargaining with Cal State since May, and the university system has offered a 5% raise each year over three years.
The union is seeking a 12% pay raise, along with a base salary increase to $64,360 for the lowest-paid full-time faculty.
In a statement, Cal State said the CFA’s demand for a 12% raise, along with other economic demands, are “financially unrealistic.”