Teamsters representing skilled trades workers at San Jose State and 21 other Cal State University campuses began a one-day unfair-labor-practice strike this morning, claiming their wages fall far below that of UC employees who do the same work.
Picket lines were set up at 7:30am at the 10th Street Garage on San Fernando Street at the San Jose State campus.
CSU faculty are threatening to follow up today’s action with strikes Dec. 3-7 at four Cal State campuses – San Francisco State, Sacramento State, Cal Poly Pomona and CSU Los Angeles.
“California Faculty Association members will be going on strike next month if we are unable to settle,” the CSU teachers union said in an announcement on its website. The union said the strike was authorized by 95% of its voting members “over CSU management’s failure to settle re-opener contract negotiations fairly. Faculty in all ranges and ranks need better pay, better parental leave, workload support, and health and safety rights that align with our anti-racist and social justice values.”
The Teamsters local, which represents 1,100 skilled trades workers in the CSU system said in a statement on its website, that its one-day strike today is legal told its members “you do not need to notify your supervisor or manager that you will not be reporting for work.
“Unfortunately, the CSU unlawfully directed workers to provide individual notice through CSU’s attendance system if they intend to strike,” the union charged in a statement.”However, we are free to disregard this unlawful direction. This is part of CSU’s continued pattern of unfair labor practices, and the union will take appropriate legal action in response.”
In a statement issued Monday, CSU said it doesn’t believe the Teamsters’ strike is lawful.
“Should a strike take place, all CSU universities will remain open and have contingency plans in place to maintain full university operations with as minimal disruption as possible for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to our campuses,” officials said.
The workers include plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, auto mechanics and locksmiths, among others. Their labor contract expired June 30, and CSU management has declined to participate in further negotiations. State mediation efforts last month did not break the deadlock.
The Teamsters are demanding a fair contract that addresses what they say is the university system’s “broken salary structure.” They say CSU pay lags behind that of comparable UC workers by an average of 23.6% when comparing UC and CSU campuses in the same county.
CSU said it has offered a 15% compensation pool for a three-year period to Teamsters workers.
“The CSU remains committed to the collective bargaining process and reaching a negotiated agreement for increased compensation with the Teamsters, as we have done with five of our other employee unions in recent weeks,” CSU management said.
The Teamsters are supported in their one-day strike by the CSU Labor Coalition representing roughly 60,000 CSU workers. Members include the California Faculty Association, CSUEU/SEIU 2579, Academic Professionals of California, UAW Local 4123 and the United Association of Physicians and Dentists.
A factfinder is currently preparing a report of the faculty negotiations that will include non-binding recommendations for how a settlement could be reached. After the report is issued, the faculty bargaining team and CSU management will enter a 10-day silent period to review the report before it becomes public.