Will Bigham, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/29/2011 12:17:44 PM PDT

Misplaced spending priorities on the part of Cal State University leaders has spurred the union representing faculty members to plan work actions, according to a local union leader.

The faculty union plans to conduct “informational picketing” at its 23 campuses and stage a one-day strike at two schools.

The union announcement was made this week in response to CSU administrators’ rejection of a union proposal to partially restore canceled faculty pay raises in the 2009-2010 school year.

The retroactive raises – which would be paid from the current budget – are unaffordable amid state funding cuts, said CSU spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp. The raises would cost $20 million, he said.

“Our position is that there’s no money for the raises,” Uhlenkamp said.

The California Faculty Association represents 23,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches. Their membership includes faculty at Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State San Bernardino and 21 other Cal State University campuses.

The planned picketing is coupled with a demand for partially restoring scheduled raises that were withheld. But faculty members are also unhappy with negotiations over a new contract, said Gwendolyn Urey, president of the union’s Cal Poly Pomona chapter.

“I think if you look at the other things that they’re spending money on, it’s hard to believe (they can’t afford raises),” said Urey, a professor of urban and regional planning. “They’re spending $7 million for consultants to be on their side of the bargaining right now.”

The union said it plans to conduct “informational picketing” on Nov. 8 or 9 at all campuses. The picketing will not be coupled with a walkout.

“Concerted actions,” which are expected to include a strike, are set for Nov. 17 at Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State East Bay. A one-day systemwide strike could follow if approved by members.

The union’s prior contract with CSU took effect on July 1, 2007, and expired June 30, 2010. Faculty members are still working under the contract because a new agreement hasn’t been reached.

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