The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

Some unions strike a deal with the CSU after getting ‘strike ready’

“We are ready, we are ready, we are ready for a strike,” shouted picketers in a mock strike.

 

On Oct. 6, three CSU unions came together and held an event to get Cal State LA “strike ready.”

 

“It’s to make the CSU aware that although we don’t want to strike, we are prepared to strike if that’s what’s needed,”  Chief Steward for Teamsters Local 2010, Dennis Sotomayor said.

 

All CSU unions have been bargaining individually since January, but multiple unions have united to form a coalition to support each other throughout the process.

 

Teamsters Local 2010, California Faculty Association (CFA), and California State University Employees Union Chapter 311- Cal State LA (CSUEU) who are a part of the coalition,  hosted the “strike ready” event.

 

Unions occupied the outside of the Student Services Building at Cal State LA with an estimated 400 workers and students carrying posters, noise makers and mega horns to voice their disappointment toward working circumstances.

 

Some posters included sayings like: “CFA strike ready!”, “CSU: step up or strike out,” and “fair contract now!”

 

Students Justin Moreno, Melanie Campos and Sonia Arellano attended the event in support of professors. They expressed their concerns over the importance of having them teach the next working-class generation.

 

“This is really to show faculty, staff, students, different people on campus what it looks like when we come together,” said Anthony Ratcliff, associate professor of Pan-African studies. “We raise our voices and hopes, picket signs, and just let the [CSU] know that we are serious about our demands, and the university has to do better on their side.”

 

Some students supported the cause by joining workers during the event and attending a Q&A panel hosted by Cal State LA Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) and Students for Quality Education (SQE) on Oct. 5.

 

Panelists included Kenneth Castillo, a member of CSUEU; Juan P. Lamata, a member of CFA, Dennis Sotomayor, a member of Teamsters Local 2010; and Kein Le, a YDSA leader.

 

“This campus taught me to be who I am, this is home. This campus has shown me what activism is,” said Castillo, a Cal State LA alumnus who is now an IT maintenance worker and president of the CSUEU Chapter 311.

 

On Oct. 12, 2023, the Statewide University Police Association (SUPA), United Auto Workers Local 4123 (UAW), and CSUEU reached  multi-year tentative agreements with the CSU.

“Of the 26,000 employees covered by these agreements, approximately 16,000 are staff represented by the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU). Their membership encompasses hundreds of job classifications, such as academic, administrative and technical support staff, custodians, nurses and medical assistants. This three-year agreement (July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2026) provides a 10% salary increase over the first two years (a 5% increase in year one and a 5% increase in year two). This agreement also reintroduces a salary step structure in year three that contains 20 steps for most job classifications, with 2% salary increases between each step,” according to the CSU Systemwide Human Resources, Labor and Employee Relations.

 

The CSUEU said regarding the agreements that, “this win is 30 years in the making – and we made it happen through our unwavering commitment and pressure on CSU leadership throughout the bargaining process. We spoke up in front of the Board of Trustees; we advocated with state legislators at the state Capitol; we marched and chanted at rallies; and we made sure the media carried our message far and wide.”

 

The agreement is to be voted on for ratification by the CSU Board of Trustees on Nov. 7-8.

 

The CSU has also reached an agreement with the UAW and the SUPA, which represents 10,000 student employees and 330 police officers, corporals and sergeants of the CSU police departments. The two-year agreement, which ends on Oct. 31, 2025, includes a 5% general salary increase and expanded sick leave benefits for graduate assistance.

 

While the three unions have reached a “tentative agreement” with the CSU, negotiations with Teamsters Local 2010 and CFA are still ongoing.

 

Local 2010 has started initiating strike authorizations across different Cal States. The strike authorizations would allow members of the union to vote and give the bargaining team the ability to call for a strike.

 

CFA started bargaining in late June as certain articles within the current 2022 – 2024 contract were reopened to negotiate the salaries for this year. Currently the negotiations are in a statutory process called “fact-finding.” This involves getting a neutral third-party to join a panel with a representative from the union and the CSU. Through the panel, the three will recommend a settlement between the parties involved.

 

“If fact-finding doesn’t result in an agreement, at that point, the “statutory” process ends. We gain the right to legally strike, and CSU management may impose its last, best, and final offer,” said on the CFA website.

 

If a strike were to occur, the CFA web page said that “it means that we refrain from teaching and any other work we would normally do for the CSU on the day(s) of the strike, and we would organize picket lines and rallies on the campus(es). Educators on strike do not grade, answer work emails, or perform other faculty work.”

 

In response to questions about how the university’s 2023-2024 academic year would be affected if a strike were to happen, Cal State LA’s Public Affairs office stated, ”If a strike were to occur, our campus would remain open. Instruction and student services would continue. The university remains committed to providing its students with the highest quality educational experience.”

 

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Leslie Magaña Arias, Senior Multimedia Reporter & Magazine Editor-In-Chief
Leslie Magaña Arias is a reporter for the UT and Editor in Chief of the UT Community Magazine. She is a vegan and a human rights activist who enjoys doing investigation pieces and features on underrepresented communities.
Anne To, Editor-In-Chief
Anne To is the Editor in Chief of the UT and also the co-Station manager of the Golden Eagle Radio. She loves working on audio production with radio, podcasting, and more! You may have seen some of her comics with the Life of Biffy series. During her free time she is either taking a nap, or playing video games.  
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