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California Faculty Association members voted to authorize a strike at the California State University system by more than 94%, officials announced Wednesday.

This gives CFA’s Board of Directors the power to call a strike if contract negotiations with university management don’t result in a fair deal, CFA President Jennifer Eagan said during a press conference at San Jose State University, and posted to CFA’s website.

The next step is to rally at the CSU Chancellor’s Office on Nov. 17, when the CSU Board of Trustees conducts its regular public meeting, Eagan said. CFA members from all 23 CSU campuses are expected to be at the rally. The CFA represents more than 26,000 tenured and tenure-track faculty and other employees.

What a strike would entail has yet to be determined, since the bargaining process is still underway.

CSU has proposed a 2% across the board pay raise, totaling $32.8 million and CFA is asking for 5%, for $82 million, Toni Molle, CSU director of public affairs, said in a statement. They’re also requesting a 1.2% service salary increase equal to $19.7 million, she said, for a grand total of $101.7 million.

Molle said faculty — 51% of CSU’s employees — were the only group of employees to receive salary increases and tenure-track salary promotions during the recession years. She also said the CSU system invested $129.6 million in compensation, with $65.5 million of that going to faculty.

“The CSU remains committed to the collective bargaining process and reaching a negotiated agreement with the CFA,” Molle said in a statement. “Fact finding hearings are currently scheduled for Nov. 23 and Dec. 7. The approval of the strike vote gives CFA’s leadership the authority to initiate a strike or other concerted activities in the event that the parties do not reach an agreement at the conclusion of the statutory impasse procedure. A strike would not be in the best interest of our students.”

Locally, CFA members said they’re ready to strike, if needed, and planned to march on Nov. 17.

“They’ve been hiring people now who make more than us who’ve been here a long time,” Kelly Janousek, CFA Chapter Faculty Rights Chair at California State University, Long Beach, said.

Janousek has been CSULB librarian and aguest lecturer, as well as a CFA member, for the past 27 years. She said she was on the bargaining team for the past two years and felt the CSU management needed to provide faculty with compensation they’d promised in previous years.

“I think they’re in a position now to make good on their promises,” Janousek said.

Last year, Janousek said faculty received a1.6% pay raise and $50 the year before that. Before then, the last raise was in 2009, she added. Her annual salary is $92,000 for 12 months, she said, and she is tenured with full benefits.

“It gets hard and it’s get tiring,” Janousek said. “You feel like you’re not appreciated.”

Emily Thornton can be reached at ethornton@gazettes.com.

Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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