Cal State reaches tentative agreement with faculty

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(AP) – California State University has reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract with its faculty that would avert strikes threatened for the fall, the university and faculty union said Tuesday.

The settlement with the California Faculty Association stipulates no raises for the past two years, but the issue could be revisited for 2012-13 and 2013-14, the university said.

“In this extremely challenging budget climate, we are pleased to come to an agreement with the CFA that will allow both parties to move forward and focus on the state’s reinvestment in higher education,” said John Swarbrick, associate vice chancellor for labor relations.

The agreement preserves job stability provisions for lecturers and provides for faculty input in determining class sizes.

“It’s a fair agreement in the context of hard times,” said Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association, which represents 23,000 professors, lecturers, and other professional employees across CSU’s 23 campuses. “We are disappointed we were not able to get a raise, but that wasn’t in the cards. It was a tough pill to swallow, I won’t kid you.”

The last contract expired two years ago. Talks had broken down several times, with the faculty voting in May to authorize strikes to take place this fall.

The agreement must be ratified by union members during a two-week voting period scheduled for late August, as well as the board of trustees. The board’s next meeting is slated for September.

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