California State University teachers began voting Monday on whether to stage rolling two-day strikes at campuses across the state in protest of what they call lack of progress in contract talks.
The California Faculty Association board of directors voted unanimously in February to ask its members whether to conduct the walkout.
CFA teachers staged a one-day strike in November at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson and Cal State East Bay in Hayward. If union members authorize another walkout, the job actions would include two-day rolling strikes at all 23 CSU campuses, including Cal State Northridge, according to the union.
The strike-authorization vote will continue through April 27.
"We have said all along that we do not want to strike, but we will if that is what is necessary to ensure that we can provide quality education to our students," said CFA President Lillian Taiz, a history professor at Cal State Los Angeles.
The union contends the university system is trying to move more courses into its "for-profit" extension programs, while paying faculty less money to teach them. According to the union, it is also contesting proposed increases in class sizes and the lack of salary increases over the past two academic years and the possibility of lower wages and benefits in the future.
CSU spokeswoman Claudia Keith said previously that union members had received $60 million in pay raises over the previous three years.
CSU officials have also insisted that the university was hard-hit by a $650 million cut in state funding.
In November, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a 9 percent tuition hike for the 2012-13 school year. Tuition will increase by $498, meaning undergraduate student fees will go from $5,472 in 2011-12 to $5,970 for 2012- 13. With campus-specific fees added in, the total cost for undergraduate students will be just more than $7,000 for the full year.
The increase will be on top of a 12 percent tuition hike that took effect this school year, and a 9 percent increase imposed in 2010.
Keith told City News Service in February that a strike-authorization vote was a "premature" step since negotiations were still continuing with the union.