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Cal State system faculty ratify new four-year contract

Cal State Long Beach
Faculty from the California State University system have voted to approve a new four-year contract that ends more than two years of acrimony with management over salary, class sizes, faculty stability and other issues, union officials said Tuesday.

About 91% of those who cast a ballot voted to ratify the contract, which provides no salary increases  and largely preserves current benefits. The agreement also averts the potential for strikes at the system’s 23 campuses this fall.

The California Faculty Assn., which represents 23,000 professors, lecturers,  librarians, counselors and coaches, had previously authorized two-day rolling strikes at all campuses in the new academic year.

“The final agreement has produced a balanced, good contract in light of difficult times,” said union president Lillian Taiz, a history professor at Cal State Los Angeles. “It acknowledges years of slashed public funding for the CSU and the real needs of the people teaching our students.”

John Swarbrick, associate vice chancellor for labor relations, said university leaders were pleased with the union’s action and said the Board of Trustees was also expected to approve the agreement at its September board meeting.

The faculty group had been seeking 1% pay increases for each year of the contract. University officials, however, sought to contain costs, citing the state’s precarious economic condition, which saw Cal State and the University of California each absorb $750 million in state funding cuts last year with the potential for another $250-million reduction next year if voters reject a November tax initiative backed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Faculty members have not had a raise for four years. The last contract expired two years ago, with Chancellor Charles B. Reed withholding pay raises negotiated for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school year, citing budget constraints.

The new contract would run through June 30, 2014. Under the tentative agreement, the two sides can reopen salary and benefit talks for 2012-13 and 2013-14.

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Photo: Passers-by at Cal State Long Beach. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
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