The California State University system and the union representing thousands of professors and lecturers said Monday night that they had reached a tentative deal to raise wages, quickly ending what was the largest strike by university faculty in U.S. history.

The news came on the first day of what was planned as a five-day walkout by the California Faculty Association, the union that represents 29,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches on all 23 Cal State campuses.

Faculty members will return to work on Tuesday, union officials said.

“The collective action of so many lecturers, professors, counselors, librarians and coaches over these last eight months forced C.S.U. management to take our demands seriously,” Charles Toombs, president of the union, said in a statement.

The deal would immediately increase salaries for all faculty members by 5 percent, retroactively to July 1, 2023, with another 5 percent raise to take effect July 1, 2024, according to union officials. It would also immediately raise the salary floor for the lowest-paid faculty members by $3,000, and increase paid parental leave to 10 weeks from six.

Mildred García, the chancellor of the university system, said in a statement Monday night that she was “extremely pleased” with the deal, adding that it “enables the C.S.U. to fairly compensate its valued, world-class faculty while protecting the university system’s long-term financial sustainability.”

University leaders and the faculty union had been negotiating since May, starting in the middle of what turned out to be an intense labor year in California, particularly for educators.

That same month, teachers, librarians and others in the Oakland public schools struck for nearly two weeks. Two months earlier, Los Angeles school employees staged a huge walkout. There were also the Hollywood strikes and a busy period of other walkouts in Los Angeles that became known as “hot labor summer.”

At the University of California, the state’s other four-year university system, tens of thousands of academic workers walked out for nearly six weeks in 2022 to protest low wages.

The actions reflect a nationwide trend of worker frustration over salaries that were not keeping up with inflation and high housing prices. Those pressures are especially acute in California, where the cost of living is so high that even people in traditionally well-paid occupations are struggling to make ends meet.

Many of the Cal State system’s campuses are in the most expensive housing markets in the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose.

On Monday, before the deal was announced, I went to San Jose State University and spoke to strikers in red ponchos who had surrounded the campus and were chanting “Overeducated and undercompensated.”

San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley, is in a county that has become so pricey that last year, the federal government considered a family of four making as much as $137,100 a year to be low income.

Hien Do, a sociology professor who has been teaching at San Jose State for 31 years, told me that he remembered how difficult it was, even decades ago, for him and his wife, who works at a nonprofit, to afford a home in the San Jose area. Now, he said, it’s nearly impossible for younger faculty members.

After the contract agreement was reached, I spoke to Ray Buyco, a senior lecturer in San Jose State’s history department. He noted that the union had not achieved its goal of 12 percent raises for all faculty members, but he said he was proud of the immediate increase in the salary floor.

“This is a real big win for the lowest-paid among us,” said Buyco, who holds down several jobs to afford living in Silicon Valley. “For a lot of people, it’s really going to affect their lives in a good way.”

Today we’re asking about love: not whom you love but what you love about your corner of California.

Email us a love letter to your California city, neighborhood or region — or to the Golden State as a whole — and we may share it in an upcoming newsletter. You can reach the team at

Devoted surfers flocked to Half Moon Bay in Northern California last month for a day of surfing in extreme conditions fueled by the weather pattern known as El Niño. The surfers gathered on Dec. 28 at Mavericks Beach, a popular destination for big-wave surfing just south of San Francisco, after weather reports predicted especially large waves powered by a series of winter storms. The swell, which broke records for the year and was among the biggest in recent decades, included waves up to 60 feet high, KRON 4 reports.

The unusual conditions drew professional big-wave surfers from across the Bay Area and outside the United States. Many were captured on film by Tucker Wooding, a surf videographer, who shared the footage with Surfer Magazine. It was “some of the heaviest waves I’ve seen,” Wooding told the outlet.

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