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Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Local labor union Teamsters hold one day strike

    Kevin+Dahlstedt%2C+painter+%28left%29+and+Celestino+Martinez+%28right%29%2C+protesting+in+front+of+SSU.
    Albert Levine
    Kevin Dahlstedt, painter (left) and Celestino Martinez (right), protesting in front of SSU.

    On Tuesday, Nov. 14th, the Teamsters Local 2010 Labor Union held a one-day strike across all CSU Campuses, advocating for better working conditions, a fair contract, and higher wages. Labor movements seem to be more frequent this year, and Sonoma State isn’t excluded from that.

    The labor union represents Unit 6 Faculty, including electricians, plumbers, locksmiths, painters, and other skilled trades.

    “[CSU] will not come to the table and offer us a fair contract. They’ve been promising this stuff for years and years and years,” said Josh Gillespie, a supervising electrician at Sonoma State. “They want to take emergency pay away from us. During the pandemic we were here, during the fires we were here. We’re always here taking care of campus even when everybody else is working from home remotely. We just want to be treated fair.”

    Cars honked in solidarity as students and professors headed to class Tuesday morning, some taking flyers being handed out by union members in front of SSU.

    “We keep the lights on, we keep the heat, we keep the coal on. And I don’t think the [CSU] presidents get it, like the higher-ups that have never been in the trades, [don’t] understand what we actually do,” said Gillespie. “The claim is budget. Their claim is also that life safety is priority number one, so those contradict each other,” said Jason Scott, a locksmith at Sonoma State. “I came here as a benefit to my family, [and] to have health insurance,” said Scott.

     

    A van parked in the drop-off lot at SSU. (Albert Levine)

     

    When Scott was first hired by SSU four years ago, there were two other locksmiths on campus besides him. Now, he is the only locksmith left on campus. “Plumbers when I got here four years ago were four, now they’re down to two,” said Scott. “There’s a pattern.” Scott emphasized that CSU had originally said they were going to give workers a five percent raise, but after four years, inflation has increased.

    According to MacroTrends, U.S. inflation rate for 2022 was eight percent, a 3.3 percent increase from 2021. “The biggest thing is we want our work to be valued,” said B James Schneider, a plumber employed by SSU for over 20 years. “That’s what this one day action is about, asking CSU to please return to the bargaining table with respectful proposals. I think that all ships should rise on the tide, and we wouldn’t be doing this if we really didn’t feel strongly about the treatment we’ve been receiving,” Schneider said.

    “The CSU system is built by unions, and these unions need to be recognized by the CSU System,” said McLovin, a second-year Cinematic Arts and Technology major. “We are all in this together because we all have something that we need from the CSU System, with students wanting to stop the student tuition increase, the CFA wanting the 12 percent, the CSUEU wanting better conditions, and the Teamsters wanting the same pay as their UC counterparts,” McLovin said.

    McLovin is also organizing a student worker union under the CSUEU, to give student workers a chance for their voices to be heard. “The teamsters for me are considered Seawolves, and we need to support them as they supported the students in the protest and fight against the tuition hike.”

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    About the Contributor
    Albert Levine, Staff Writer
    Albert Levine is a third year communication studies major at Sonoma State.
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