Faculty members at the California State University's 23 campuses are voting online and in person on whether to permit their labor union to call a strike over stalled salary negotiations.
The strike authorization vote started Monday and runs through Oct. 28. It's at least the fourth the California Faculty Association has held in eight years.
No dates have been set for a possible walkout, and the earliest one would happen is January, CFA President Jennifer Eagan said.
The union, which represents about 25,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches, and the Cal State system have been negotiating since May on the size of the pay raises union members will get this school year.
The faculty association is seeking a 5 percent salary increase along with a 2.7 percent pay bump based on years of service. The university is offering raises of 2 percent, which is what other CSU employees received.
"After years of stagnant faculty wages, the faculty on our public university campuses are angry, and we are ready for this strike vote,'' Eagan said. "We work hard to provide quality education for our students, but we also need to support our families.''
The vote taking place over the next 10 days would authorize the union to declare a strike or other protests if the contract talks remain unsuccessful.
CSU is the nation's largest public university system, with about 460,000 students. It has not been subject to a full faculty strike since systemwide collective bargaining began in the early 1980s.
Union members authorized strikes in 2007, 2011 and 2012. Strikes were averted in 2007 and 2012 when negotiators for the administration and the union reached settlements. A one-day walkout was staged at two campuses in 2011.
California State University spokeswoman Toni Molle says the raises the union is seeking would cost $69 million more than has been budgeted. CSU already has pledged the money to hiring more faculty and increasing enrollment and graduation rates.
"A strike would not be in the best interests of our students,'' she said.