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.