CSU Strikes: Faculty rallies at Cal State LA Wednesday demanding higher wages

The union representing faculty across the California State University system continued a series of one-day strikes Wednesday -- this one at Cal State Los Angeles -- as it looks to land a new labor contract.

Wednesday's action by the California Faculty Association's CSULA contingent will follow one-day strikes Monday at Cal Poly Pomona and Tuesday at San Francisco State.

Another one-day walkout is planned for Thursday at Sacramento State "unless California State University management presents serious, fair and reasonable proposals to address long-standing inequities," according to the union.

"The California State University respects the right of the California Faculty Association (CFA) to engage in lawful concerted activities. Our hope is that the strikes pose no hardships on our students and that we can get back to the bargaining table with the CFA as soon as possible to come to an agreement," a spokesperson said in a released statement Wednesday.

Pickets at Cal State Los Angeles are expected to run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. CFA members also plan a noon rally with faculty, student and staff speakers, and another rally at 4 p.m. with Black Lives Matter members.

Teamsters Local 2010, which is also in the midst of contract talks with CSU management, is planning sympathy strikes in support of the faculty union, the CFA said.

RELATED: Faculty at CSU campuses hold day-long strikes demanding higher wages

The CFA says it is fighting for 12% wage hikes this academic year plus other concessions, including better parental leave, workload support and health and safety rights.

Cal State said on Friday that, while it is prepared to agree to many of the union's demands contained in a neutral fact-finder report, a 12% general salary increase is not sustainable for the university system.

"CSU strives to provide fair, competitive pay and benefits for all of our employees," Leora Freedman, CSU's vice chancellor for human resources, said in a statement. "We recognize the need to increase compensation and are committed to doing so, but our financial commitments must be fiscally sustainable."

As for CFA's one-day strikes, Freedman indicated that such actions are often part of negotiations.

"We respect the right of our labor unions to engage in strike activities, and we are prepared to minimize any disruptions to our campuses," she said.

"Our hope is that the planned strike activities pose no hardships on our students and that we can get back to the bargaining table as soon as possible with the CFA to come to an agreement."

The CFA represents more than 29,000 tenure-line instructional faculty, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches on CSU's 23 campuses.

"Rent, childcare, groceries and the costs of basic necessities have gone up by double digits over the past few years," Anne Luna, CFA Sacramento president and a Cal State Sacramento professor, said in a statement last week.

"Our faculty are some of the lowest-paid educators in the state. They desperately need a lifeline."

Luna said that while CSU is rejecting the union's pay demand, an independent auditor who reviewed the public university system's budget said that 12% is, in fact, workable for CSU.

"We know management can afford our proposals," she said. "They can afford to provide fair compensation and safe working conditions. It's time to stop funneling tuition and taxpayer money into a top-heavy administration. It's time to put the money where it belongs, to support the faculty and students of the CSU."