Teamsters settle with CSU ahead of Monday’s strike – Chico Enterprise-Record

Molly Myers


CHICO — After planning to strike alongside California Faculty Association members, campus employees represented by the Teamsters union reached an agreement with the California State University system ahead of picketing Monday.

Teamsters and the CSU agreed on a three-year contract Friday. Though now striking alone, the CFA congratulated the Teamsters on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Congrats to our union siblings at @IBTlocal2010!!! CFA members: our strike is still on!!! See you all bright and early Monday, rain or shine!”

Spring semester begins Monday.

“While I’m of course sad our union siblings won’t be on the picket line with us all day, I’m happy they were able to achieve a win they feel good with,” Chico State professor Lindsay Briggs said. “I’ve heard from several Teamsters friends that they’ll be joining us on their breaks because they still support our fight.”

The Teamsters union represents skilled trade workers in the CSU such as mechanics, locksmiths, electricians, building engineers and plumbers.

“We are thrilled our Teamsters employees will be on the job next week performing the invaluable work they do to keep our campus up and running,” Andrew Staples, Chico State public relations manager, said Saturday.

The deal comes after months of failed negotiations. In November, Teamsters held a one day strike after what they described as “bad faith bargaining and inadequate and insulting proposals.”

The agreement is “tentative,” meaning it must still be ratified by the union and approved by the CSU Board of Trustees at a meeting in March. Nonetheless, Staples described it as “an extremely positive development.” The CSU said in a statement that the details of the agreement would be released from both parties in the coming days; it reportedly includes guaranteed raises each year of the contract, the return of a salary-step system and maintained pension and medical benefits.

Meanwhile, the CFA is poised to strike Jan. 22-26 after its failed negotiations with the CSU. It’s the latest in a series of labor actions from lecturers, librarians, coaches, social workers and other staff at the nation’s largest public university, which including Chico State serves 460,000 students. As of Saturday, the faculty union that represents 29,000 in the CSU was still moving forward with its strike plans, which members approved in late October after the CSU stood firm on its offer of 5% salary increases for faculty starting Jan. 31, effectively ending contract negotiations.

Faculty members are calling for a 12% pay bump, a higher floor for the lowest-paid staff, and expanded parental leave, among other demands. CFA’s contract is set to expire in June.

“Overall,” Briggs said, “I don’t think their deal has much impact on on our strike. We are fighting different fights with different goals.”

It’s unknown how many faculty are planning to join the strike, or if some classes will remain open.

In September, university trustees voted 15-5 for an annual 6% tuition increase that starts this fall and will affect hundreds of thousands of CSU students over the next five years. The tuition hikes comes after a working group found the university system was facing a funding gap of $1.5 billion, and only had enough money to pay for about 85% of its costs. The CFA believes the CSU has the money to pay faculty more.

The San Jose Mercury News contributed to this report.

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2024-01-21 12:30:06 , News – Chico Enterprise-Record

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