Dear Skilled Trades Teamsters,
We would like to wish all our Skilled Trades Teamsters a happy Skilled Trades Day! This day is meant to recognize the critical and under-appreciated work that Skilled Trades workers do to keep our country running. Our 2,300 essential Skilled Trades Teamsters make California State University and University of California work every day, especially during this coronavirus pandemic. We are standing together in our Union to make sure that we are protected through personal protective equipment (PPE) and recommended social and work distancing, and that our jobs and pay are maintained throughout this crisis.
Late last year, Skilled Trades members at CSU began bargaining a new contract. COVID-19 delayed negotiations, but our team met online yesterday, May 5, in preparation for bargaining with CSU on May 21-22. This will be the first bargaining session since mid-March. We have continued necessary research and prepared our strategy throughout the coronavirus delay.
Due to the coronavirus and the potential loss of funding from the state in the upcoming fiscal year, our CSU Bargaining Team and UC Merced Skilled Trades Bargaining Team – which has only member pay left to negotiate – face funding circumstances we’ve never seen before. Our proposals may look very different than we thought they would, depending on the latest financial projections of each university system.
We do know one thing and that is that UC and CSU workers should not bear the brunt of this crisis! Our Skilled Trades workers, as well as UC clerical Teamsters, are mostly living paycheck-to-paycheck and our families will be further devastated if we sustain layoffs or pay cuts. The CSU, UC and state of California will recover faster economically if we continue to be able to pay our bills.
Many of our Skilled Trades essential workers continue to report to their campus every day to work. Some also work at their campus medical center, where there are diagnosed COVID-19 patients being treated. Unfortunately, Teamsters Local 2010 lost one of our own to COVID-19 on April 24. Emmanuel Gomez, an electrician working at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, was working overtime during the pandemic to keep the hospital running to serve patients. Teamsters Local 2010, Teamsters Joint Council 7 and Teamsters Joint Council 42 are donating more than $10,000 to Emmanuel Gomez’s family, and a Teamsters 2010 brother at UCLA created a GoFundMe fundraiser, all of which will go to Emmanuel’s family to assist during their time of need.
This is a trying time for everyone. But our Skilled Trades Teamsters throughout California working at CSU and UC are there, providing essential services to the university, its students, faculty and staff, as we always have. We want to make sure that all workers have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and that all are trained on how to appropriately use the PPE. Please notify your Union Rep right away if you feel the university has not provided adequate PPE for the work you are performing.
The year 2020 has not been what we had hoped or expected. But we will stand together and fight to protect our health, jobs and paychecks. Please do all you can to protect your health and safety and that of your fellow members. We will get through this – together!
Skilled Trades Director