Sacramento State faculty members held a rally on campus Tuesday to raise awareness of their “Fight for Five” initiative.
For months, the California Faculty Association has been in negotiations with the CSU system to raise faculty wages by 5 percent.
The chancellor and the board of trustees have agreed to a $65.5 million, 2 percent wage increase. With neither side coming to an agreement, the CFA has decided it will hold a vote to legally strike against the university system.
“The middle class lifestyle is not happening. We are living in a facade that it is. But it's not,” Sac State faculty Nicki Mehta said.
The education lecturer at Sacramento State said she is a proud wife, mother and Sac State Master's graduate. But what she is not proud of is her $2,000 a month salary, which amounts to $12.50 an hour.
"It's tough to say I can't afford to buy you that birthday present because it's too expensive," Mehta said.
CFA said there are too many faculty members like Nicki Mehta -- highly educated teachers who are struggling to live.
Sac State religious studies student Raya Hazini was on track to work for the United Nations, until meeting two professors. She said they changed the course of her career. Now she hopes to become a Jewish studies professor.
“I don't know how I can thank them enough,” Hazini said. “The only thing I can think of is to carry on their legacy and share the love that they have shared with me.”
The CSU system has said the best they can do is a 2 percent raise.
They said they have other funding priorities, such as enrollment growth, infrastructure, and IT upgrades.
CSU Public Affairs Director Toni Molle said in a statement:
"We are doing our best to improve compensation for all employees while remaining committed to our other mission-critical priorities that support quality education and student success."
CSU faculty have eight more days to vote if they want to move forward with the strike. Many students have already said they will support their mentors.
“It's my career path,” Hazini said. “I hold strong to those who have taken the time to take care and help me grow. And I will be on the line with them."
Online voting began Monday. CSU faculty have until Oct. 28 to vote online or in person.