By: Jd Preslicka and Samuel Chacko
Honking and chanting could be heard on Tuesday as university workers began their one-day strike near Cal State Long Beach’s Walter Pyramid.
Teamsters went on strike at 22 different campuses. A flyer stated that the “CSU has committed numerous unfair labor practices,” and that their wages are 23.6% lower than that of University of California trade workers.
Protesters stated that Teamsters continued working hard during the pandemic, yet the CSU has not shown any promising negotiations during the union’s bargaining.
“The way that the bargaining is going with the CSU, basically their offer was ridiculous for over a year, and they do everything they can to stall bargaining right after they walked away from the table and declaring impasse,” Michael Harris, a Teamster 2010 Stewart, said.
“We’re going to protect these jobs for the people coming up and taking them, the people who are working here now, we’re just trying to keep some sort of middle class.”
Teamster workers expressed their frustration with higher-ups in the CSU who have received wage increases over the years while various union workers are stuck with the same pay. They believe a pay raise does not account for inflation.
“The last five contracts, every one of them has been below inflation. So what they’re basically asking us to do is not accept lower pay again. Every time we sign a contract, our pay goes down,” Harris said.
Javier Moncayo, who has been a CSULB housing electrician for five years, said that he hung American flags, union flags and some of the “Step Up or Strike Out” flags at his shop, but they were removed by management.
“It wasn’t in clear view of the public […] on Friday, MPP [management] came in, ripped everything out,” Moncayo said.
“They could’ve just asked us to take it down but the problem is that a union flag or American flag is freedom of speech.”
While the strike only lasted for a day, protesters mentioned that a larger strike with other unions may occur if negotiations do not improve.
“Faculty authorized a strike though too, if we don’t get some movement from the Chancellor’s Office from our action here, then we’ll be going out with faculty in January,” union representative Michael Sherritt said.
“They’ve got a lot of people, there’s probably three or four thousand on this campus alone.”
Teamsters and other union workers have been in a continuous fight with the CSU system in recent months. They will continue to work towards meeting their demands until further notice.
“You can take this as a warning shot. They’ve never had a strike before, so they think we won’t do it. No no no, we will. We literally got nothing to lose,” Harris said.