Starting strong in CSU negotiations, Teamsters demand raises for essential workers

Local 2010’s Skilled Trades Bargaining Team met with California State University (CSU) management in mid-August about reopening contract negotiations on wages and benefits, in accordance with our 2020 agreement that allowed such a reopening.

At the start of the pandemic, our Union worked to extend the current contract and focus on protecting jobs and pay during the tremendous challenges and uncertainties of the COVID-19 crisis. But our Bargaining Team also had the foresight to include language in our contract extension providing for the reopening of negotiations on wages and benefits as soon as CSU state funding returned to or exceeded pre-pandemic levels. State funding for the CSU hit that benchmark in July and our team will now return to bargaining raises for CSU Skilled Trades workers!

Teamsters lead negotiator Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz made clear in this first meeting that we expect CSU to recognize our members’ essential work throughout the pandemic. Skilled Trades workers must receive the raises they have earned through their hard work and commitment over the past 18 months, despite the risks of COVID-19. The CSU has now received significantly more state funding than it did pre-pandemic, which is in addition to more than $1 billion in federal stimulus money.

“Skilled Trades Teamsters risked their own health and safety to keep essential facilities running and campuses maintained,” says Local 2010 Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz. “With the increased budget, federal stimulus funds, and billions in reserves, CSU can well afford to fund fair raises for essential workers. The time for raises and equitable salary steps is now.”

This reopener is just the beginning. Our union is mobilizing to return to bargaining for a fair successor contract and to bring back the annual salary steps that are far overdue for our members. Achieving these goals will require the power of active and involved Local 2010 members. The CSU is a powerful institution, but our work makes the CSU work, and together in our union, we can ensure they bargain fairly and recognize our critical work.

“Our union will fight hard to make sure this additional CSU funding goes to provide fair pay for Teamsters members’ essential work,” adds Drew Scott, Skilled Trades Director, Local 2010. “Some of us have suffered from lagging salaries our entire careers. Newer workers make more than some dedicated, long-time employees who have cared for their campuses as if their own kids will be attending them.”