Campus, CSU, News

Student assistant unionization up for vote

The student assistant unionization movement has come to a vote among both California State University Employee Union members and student assistants, according to the union website.

The ongoing election, which started on Jan. 25, will decide whether students working on campus will be allowed to form their own union within the California State University Employee Union (CSUEU) organization.

“We’re very excited that they’re coming into the CSUEU union family,” union spokesperson Khanh Weinberg said.

Student assistants from different campuses in the California State University system have been working with the CSUEU for approval to unionize.

Colin Culver, a student assistant working as a security monitor at residence halls for San Diego State University, said pay and treatment are some of the issues that would be the focus of student union efforts on his campus if they are allowed to organize.

“We’re paid $16 an hour at my job which is the state minimum wage, the San Diego minimum wage is $16.85 an hour which is, we’re getting paid less than that,” Culver said. “We live in San Diego, we pay San Diego bills, why are we getting paid less than that?”

Weinberg said voting on the right to unionize closes on Feb. 22, with the result being announced on Feb. 23.

Weinberg also stated student assistants unionizing would not affect the hiring process on campus for students. However, when asked about how the issue of union dues would be addressed, including how they would be paid for, Weinberg said the details surrounding union dues had not been addressed.

“The next big step for this [in the event that the vote approved student assistants unionizing] would be to select their bargaining team, a contract negotiations team to negotiate with the CSU for their first contract,” Weinberg said. “Union dues would only start to take effect once there is a contract in place for the student assistants.”

Questions have been raised on campus about the deeper details surrounding the yes or no vote of student worker unionization.

Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Senator Emily Sierra said in an interview with the Daily Forty-Niner at an ASI meeting she was concerned about information transparency on what she would be voting for. She said she had gotten several messages via email and a visit to her work to vote yes, without her questions being answered.

“I do think there should be some more transparency, more things going on because I’ve also gotten different emails from different people telling me to vote,” Sierra said. “And to an extent I almost feel pressured because when I ask more questions, it’s like I have to vote yes or else, I’m kind of like a bad person.”

Culver said he is confident the student assistant unionization movement will succeed with this election.

“I think the important thing, like when it comes to this, is that we’re organizing and we’re standing up for what’s for like, for our power, for what we deserve,” Culver said. “And I don’t think that there’s even a chance that we don’t have a union at the end of this.”

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