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CSU employees rally at Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach

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(The Center Square) – Is there workplace strength in numbers for higher pay and better benefits? California State University employees in multiple labor unions think so.

To this end, employees in the Academic Professionals of California, California Faculty Association (CFA), CSU Employees Union – SEIU Local 2579, Teamsters Local 2010, UAW Local 4123, and Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) rallied for what they say is a “fair contract” via a collective bargaining agreement outside the CSU Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach on July 11.

A lack of progress on contract talks propelled the CSU employees’ actions, according to a CFA statement. “This bargaining campaign will center our most vulnerable faculty and address long-standing inequities experienced by many members, an expanded and strengthened parental leave policy and a vision for community safety rooted in our anti-racism and social justice principle,” CFA President Charles Toombs said.

Against this backdrop, the CFA has reopened four articles of its 2022-24 Collective Bargaining Agreement, from workload to paid leave, salary, and health and safety. The CFA represents 29,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, coaches and counselors in the 23-campus CSU system in the nation’s most populous state.

“The CSU recognizes and values the open exchange of ideas, opinions, and lawful free speech activities,” said Amy Bentley-Smith, a spokesperson for the CSU Office of the Chancellor. “The CSU is committed to continue bargaining with our unions and reaching an agreement with each one.”

Money is in dispute between the CSU and its employees unions. That dispute involves students. Current funding is insufficient for the CSU to cover all of its obligations, from its students’ tuition to employees’ compensation, according to the Interim Chancellor at the July 11 meeting in Long Beach, The Los Angeles Times is reporting. The CSU funding gap of about $1.5 billion threatens to worsen. Therefore, much is uncertain for the CSU and its 460,000 students and unions that represent nearly 60,000 employees.

A state budget that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed this week includes a 5% year-over-year increase in the CSU base funding level that was part of the Higher Education Compact that both CSU and University of California entered into with the Administration last year, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesperson for the state Department of Finance..

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