CSU Skilled Trades Contract Negotiations

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Teamsters Stand Strong for Steps, Make Progress in CSU Bargaining

December 20, 2019 – Our CSU Skilled Trades Bargaining Team met with CSU management Dec. 17-18 at our Teamsters Local 2010 office in Oakland for the second CSU contract bargaining session. We decorated the meeting space with more than 500 petitions signed in less than two weeks by members across the state calling for Safety, Steps and Staffing at the CSU. Management could not look anywhere without seeing petitions reminding them that our Union stands united for a strong contract with salary steps and fair pay and benefits for our CSU members.

We opened bargaining by presenting a copy of Governor Newsom’s letter calling on CSU to bargain fairly and restore steps, to show that the Governor stands with us for fair treatment for CSU workers. We then reiterated our proposal to restore step increases and requested a response from CSU. CSU responded that they do not reject our steps proposal but do not agree to it either. CSU claims it cannot afford them without additional state funding. Our Union maintains that CSU can well afford the steps under current funding, but we are ready to lobby the legislature for adequate funding for CSU. We will continue to hold CSU accountable and ensure they bargain fairly on returning steps.

Our Bargaining Team made 11 proposals on contract articles and appendices and reached tentative agreement with CSU on two others, demonstrating that our team is ready and able to ensure workplace issues are addressed in this bargaining. Our CSU Skilled Trades Teamsters on the team made sure management knows the realities that our members face on the job every single day and pushed back on CSU proposals that failed to address our concerns.

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Our next bargaining session will be January 23 and 24 at the Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach. CSU plans to bring a budget expert in support of it’s claim that they can’t afford to implement the steps under current funding. The Teamsters will bring in an economist form the IBT Economics and Contracts department to counter CSU’s position and show that CSU can well afford to pay workers fairly.

The Bargaining Team would like to thank our members for signing the petition on short notice and being willing to take a stand for steps and a fair contract. We will keep moving forward together into the New Year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Upcoming Bargaining Dates: Jan. 23 & 24

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Teamsters and Student Supporters Urge CSU Trustees to Restore Salary Steps

Nov. 27, 2019 – Members of our Skilled Trades Bargaining Team and student supporters spoke to the CSU Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Nov. 20, and made clear that it’s time for CSU to restore salary steps and pay our members fairly. We presented Governor Newsom’s letter calling for CSU to bargain fairly and bring back steps to show that the Governor and legislature have joined us in saying that it’s past time they addressed these critical issues.

Bargaining Team members Chris Rooney, Drew Scott and Alex Vermie addressed the trustees.

Chris Rooney, Metal Worker, at CSU Northridge, said: “At our campuses, we have more and more people leaving for other State agencies for higher pay at a time when square footage and maintenance needs are already escalating dramatically. CSU cannot afford to continue undervaluing the work we do to keep our campuses safe and operational for the campus communities.”

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Our team members pointed out that some highly experienced and long-time CSU trades workers actually earn less than newer workers due to the lack of salary steps and, thus, stagnant wages. The CSU has hired newer workers at higher pay because they cannot attract new workers at the rates at which longer workers are stuck.

“… 69% of our full-time Skilled Trades Teamsters with 10 or more years of service are stuck below the median of their salary range,” said Drew Scott, Bargaining Team member and Skilled Trades Director. “This is not an issue that can wait. We’ve already waited more than 20 years, the time for action is now.”

Student supporters were Samantha Gonzales, incoming transfer student from Fresno, Fabia Salazar, current CSU Los Angeles student, and incoming Fresno transfer students Camila Rivera and Fernanda Tortoledo.

Camila Rivera, an incoming transfer student at CSU Fresno, said: “The State Auditor’s June 2019 report makes one thing clear: CSU has built a massive surplus by overcharging its students and underpaying its workers. The report uses words like ‘excess tuition’ and ‘salary savings’ as euphemisms for the fact that this institution has far too often seen its students as a revenue stream and its workers as an expense to be minimized rather than as vital parts of the community that the CSU exists to serve. A start to rectifying these wrongs is to bargain fairly with your Skilled Trades employees and return the annual salary steps that CSU staff have been fighting to restore for more than 20 years now.”

View recordings of the Teamsters and student comments to the CSU Trustees here.

“We are proud to have the support of Gov. Newsom and CSU students in our battle to win fair pay for CSU workers,” said Jason Rabinowitz, Local 2010 Secretary-Treasurer. “Students and workers are united in demanding that CSU fulfill its mission to create good jobs in our communities and affordable education for our kids.”

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Gov. Newsom to CSU: Pay Workers Fairly & Restore Salary Steps

Nov. 19, 2019 – Thanks to the legislative efforts of Teamsters Local 2010 and our sister Unions CSUEU and SEIU, Gov. Gavin Newsom has sent a letter to the CSU Chancellor, strongly urging CSU to negotiate fair pay and salary steps into upcoming labor contracts.

“The upcoming negotiations should result in an agreement with our labor partners that erases the inversion gap, provides salary steps, and fairly and justly compensates these staff for their hard work,” Gov. Newsom’s letter stated.

Gov. Newsom’s letter to CSU Chancellor Timothy White recognized the 24-year absence of salary steps and the economic hardship this has caused workers, especially long-time employees:

“The troubling absence of merit salary steps takes the biggest toll on the most long-serving workers, who fall further behind their more recently hired colleagues each year they serve our students. Moreover, the CSU is the only state agency that does not provide salary steps to its staff.”

“We thank Gov. Newsom for standing with workers by urging CSU to pay workers fairly,” said Jason Rabinowitz, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 2010. “CSU needs to heed the Governor’s call to resolve the issue in bargaining and agree to our Teamster proposal to reinstate salary steps.”

The Governor’s letter comes in response to AB 369, our bill to restore step increases at CSU.  In mid-September, Gov. Newsom expressed his desire for the CSU and the Unions to work together one more time to  negotiate salary steps into upcoming contracts. The Governor said AB 369 would remain active in the legislative session as an important tool to hold the CSU accountable. Our Union retains the right to bring the bill to the Governor’s desk in the event that negotiations do not result in a fair agreement for workers.

“It’s exciting to see the huge progress we have made as Teamsters in the past two years in regaining our salary steps compared to where we were 12 years ago when I first got involved with our union,” said Skilled Trades Director Drew Scott. “Teamsters 2010 and CSUEU working together is going to bring closure to a 24-year practice of wage discrimination by the California State University system.”

Click here to read the Governor’s letter to CSU Chancellor White.

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Teamsters Open CSU Bargaining, Demand Steps and Fair Pay for Skilled Trades Workers

Nov. 8, 2019 – As hundreds of CSU Skilled Trades members throughout the state wore stickers demanding restoration of the salary steps and fair pay, our Teamster Bargaining Team met with management for our first day of bargaining. Our team wore the same stickers at the bargaining table, and began the session by passing our first proposal – to restore salary steps for skilled trades workers.

Chief Negotiator Jason Rabinowitz gave a presentation that detailed the urgent problem: The great majority of Unit 6 members are at or near the bottom of their salary range, even after many years or decades of service, because CSU got rid of salary steps 20 years ago. As a result, Unit 6 members are underpaid compared to Skilled Trades workers at other comparable institutions and suffer wage compression and inversion. Our team members spoke eloquently about the effect that the lack of step increases has had on our members.

CSU negotiators admitted that “inversion” – new hires being paid more than long-term staff – is a significant problem at CSU, and that paying skilled trades staff properly is an important issue. But CSU negotiators argued that CSU “can’t afford” to reinstate step increases. Our Union team disagreed strenuously, and demanded that CSU provide its financial data.

“Of course CSU can afford to pay workers fairly,” Rabinowitz said. “CSU’s budget has doubled over the past decade, tuition is up, executive pay is way up – the only thing that isn’t up is pay for the workers who make CSU work – and the time has come for that to change.”

“CSU Unit 6 Teamsters, it’s time to unite and support our Bargaining Team in our efforts to restore the step system that was lost 24 years ago and put an end to inversion and inequity,” said Drew Scott, Bargaining Team member and Teamsters 2010 Skilled Trades Director. “Let us all set aside our differences and fight together for wages, benefits and working conditions equal to our counterparts outside of the CSU.”  

Our Union and CSU exchanged several other proposals on contract language, and agreed to a schedule for bargaining through June 2020. The next bargaining session will be Dec. 17-18. In the meantime, our team and members will continue bringing forward our message to CSU to restore salary steps and pay workers fairly.

You can view our Teamster proposal and presentation on salary steps here.

Check out the pictures of our sticker day here.

Upcoming Bargaining Dates: Dec. 17 & 18

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TOP L to R: Matt Mason, Cal Mason, Jose Fuentes, Robert Olson, Drew Scott, Michael Sherritt, Jason Rabinowitz. BOTTOM L to R: Alex Vermie, Raymond Montoya, Christopher Rooney

Negotiations Begin for New CSU Skilled Trades Contract!

Nov. 6, 2019 – The California State University built a $1.5 BILLION surplus by overcharging for student tuition and underpaying workers for more than 20 years. It’s time to #StepUpCSU and pay Teamsters tradesworkers what they’re worth! As we begin contract negotiations today, we’re standing together for equitable pay, an investment in hiring and infrastructure to address the facilities maintenance and safety upgrades that have been deferred for more than a decade, and a return to salary steps to attract and retain the CSU’s highly skilled tradesworkers.

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  • Jason Rabinowitz, Teamsters 2010 Secretary-Treasurer
  • Cal Mason, CSU San Diego
  • Robert Olson, CSU San Jose
  • Raymond Montoya, CSU Dominguez Hills
  • Drew Scott, Teamsters 2010 Skilled Trades Director
  • Matt Mason, CSU Sacramento
  • Christopher Rooney, CSU Northridge
  • Michael Sherritt, Local 2010 Union Rep
  • Jose Fuentes, Local 2010 Union Rep
  • Alex Vermie, Local 2010 Research Analyst

Don’t forget to wear your Respect the Trades sticker!


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Teamsters 2010 Members Step Up the Fight for Fair Salary Steps at CSU

Oct. 2, 2019 – Our Teamsters Local 2010 Bargaining Team has made winning fairness through salary steps a top priority when bargaining with the CSU begins on Nov. 6. The CSU noticed the public Sept. 25 during the Board of Trustees Committee on Collective Bargaining that bargaining with our team is set to begin, the official first step when negotiating with a public entity.

Several Teamsters 2010 Bargaining Team members addressed the committee to make it clear that our Union will fight for fair pay, safe campuses and protections against contracting out of our work.

Robert Olson, a painter and Shop Steward at San Jose State, introduced our issues and called on the CSU to bargain with us in good faith and treat members fairly. Next, Chris Rooney, a Steward and metal worker II at CSU Northridge, talked about the threat that deferred maintenance poses to campus health and safety, providing examples from his own campus and challenging CSU to put growing state funding toward addressing maintenance issues.

Drew Scott, Skilled Trades Director and Fresno State member, called out the many compensation issues our members face at CSU, including low pay and the lack of fair salary steps. Finally, Cal Mason, a lead electrician from San Diego State, described the shoddy work done on his campus by outside contractors that our members ended up having to fix to demonstrate the need to keep Skilled Trades work in-house.

Click here to watch the recording of the members statements to the CSU Board of Trustees.

Ironically, in a subsequent committee meeting, the Trustees discussed pay raises for campus presidents, who already earn six-figure salaries, claiming their pay is behind market rate. In response, State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon pointed out there are other needs in the CSU community, including fair pay and treatment of CSU staff, that need to be addressed. He also pointed out that CSU opposed AB 369 restoring annual salary steps, claiming they could not afford to fairly recognize their staff’s years of service.

Thank you, Speaker Rendon for pointing out this disparity! We appreciate your logical approach.

AB 369 Author Says Bill ‘Very Much Alive’

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Click here to read Dr. Weber’s full message.


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We’re Getting Closer to the Return of Salary Steps for CSU Workers!

Sept. 13, 2019 – Our voices have been heard and the Governor has indicated his interest in elevating the need for merit salary steps for our members at the CSU. The administration has committed to actively work with the Teamsters, CSUEU, SEIU and the CSU to negotiate a fair resolution on step increases over the next few months. In light of this, our unions have determined that the best path forward is to hold AB 369 in the Senate while the CSU is given a final opportunity to proactively and meaningfully negotiate merit salary steps.

We are optimistic that with active engagement from Governor Newsom, and the strength of our unions, we can work together to address our workers’ right to merit steps and stop salary inversion. AB 369 will remain active in the legislative session and will remain an important tool to hold the CSU accountable! We retain the right to bring the bill to the Governor’s desk in the event that negotiations do not result in a fair agreement for workers.

“We appreciate the Governor’s willingness to help us reach a fair resolution on this issue,” said Jason Rabinowitz, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 2010. “The fact that the Unions stood together to move AB 369 is what has gotten us to this point, and Teamsters look forward to productive negotiations with CSU starting next month.”


Teamsters Testify on How $1.5 Billion Could Have Helped CSU Workers

Aug. 21, 2019 – Teamsters Local 2010 members joined CSUEU and other Union members at the Aug. 12 Joint Legislative Oversight Hearing in Sacramento. The hearing included members of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, the Senate Education Committee, and Assembly Budget Subcommittee 2 on Education Finance. The roughly four-hour meeting was to discuss the results of a report by the California State Auditor that showed the California State University deposited $1.5 billion into discretionary outside bank accounts from 2008 to 2018 and failed to disclose this information to the Legislature and the CSU community.

The auditor also found that the CSU Chancellor’s Office failed to ensure that campuses explore alternatives to costly parking structures even as they charged exorbitant parking permit fees. Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, who authored the audit request, stated during the hearing that many students at CSU Fullerton don’t use campus parking because it’s so costly.

“During this same time, annual tuition nearly doubled, and the legislature and voters increased financial support to the CSUs,” Quirk-Silva said. “Throughout this same time, students and parents have had to shoulder huge tuition increases. When the campuses had the ability to make education more affordable, they failed to do so.”

Teamsters 2010 Skilled Trades Director Drew Scott spoke during public comment on the CSU’s use of outside accounts and how the money could have been used to reinstate step raises for CSU employees.

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Teamsters 2010 members have said this money could have been used to ensure adequate staffing, address the CSU’s more than $3.7 billion deferred maintenance backlog, and give staff fair compensation. The report also found that campuses and the Chancellor’s Office recorded millions of dollars in savings on salaries that could contribute to this surplus.

Scott cited a page in the audit that says the CSU is exempt from a budget requirement to track salary savings.

“Nothing was stated here about that,” Scott said. “And I would hope that the Legislature does whatever it has to do to stop the CSU from having that exemption so that this money is tracked.”


Aug. 9, 2019

CSU Bargaining Update Aug 12 2019 aimee edit2