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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

CSU Student Employees Union Prepares for Rally

Student workers ask for equal pay and better labor conditions
Andrew Fogel
(L-R) Sean Sliger and Madison Wang prepare for tomorrow’s academic student union rally, pictured on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (Andrew Fogel/Golden Gate Xpress)

The Union of Academic Student Workers is preparing for a rally at the Malcolm X Plaza on Thursday, Sept. 21 at San Francisco State University.

Leading up to the rally, UAW has collected petitions that include the union’s demands to be included in the next bargaining session on Friday, Sept. 22. The union represents over 10,000 academic student employees across 23 campuses throughout the state of California.

The petition outlines the top pressing demands that include equitable pay, access to sick pay, paid time off and increased union awareness among new student workers.

Eight bargaining sessions between CSU and UAW have been ongoing since late May of this year. By collecting petitions, the union is showing the CSU how united they are in petitioning for their demands.

“We are collecting as many petitions as possible for Thursday’s rally so we can make our way to Lynn Mahoney’s office to hand them to her,” said Madison Wang, head steward at SFSU.“We are directly letting her know that the union is backing these demands and the CSU needs to take this seriously in the bargaining sessions.”

 The union proposes that upon starting their new CSU role, academic student workers must have a mandatory union onboarding orientation.

“CSU departments don’t always make it clear that union orientations are important to their student workers to attend. Currently, we are still struggling to make sure students are aware that they are part of a union and have rights in the workplace,” said Francesca Felder, a member of the bargaining team for UAW. 

Thursday’s rally will also show the CSU bargaining members that the union is united and serious about their upcoming contract negotiations prior to expiration on Sept. 30.

“We are trying to negotiate for overall better working conditions that reflect the value of labor student employees provide to the CSU,” Felder said.

Hourly academic student workers currently don’t get paid time off if they are sick. This also includes illnesses caused by COVID-19.

The CSU originally proposed a 3% salary increase in the first year of their new contract, but this increase does not keep up with inflation or properly reflect the value that academic student workers provide to the CSUs.

“The hope is to present the demands provided by the union to the CSU bargaining members as contract language,” Felder said. “At the end of the day, my hope is to improve the educational quality of the students and the academic student workers that keep the CSUs running.”

Academic student workers are heavily involved with the day-to-day educational needs of the CSU. This includes grade implementation, onsite and virtual tutoring services, student correspondence, leading labs and teaching lower-level courses.

“Thursday’s rally will demonstrate how many members are aligned with the demands we’ve proposed as a united front,” Felder said.

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About the Contributors
Zac Zavala, Staff Reporter
Zac Zavala (he/him) is a Bay Area resident who transferred from The Los Angeles Film School as a creative producing major. Originally from Southern California, Zac switched to journalism with a minor in history once he landed at SF State. Zac has vast experience working in the entertainment industry in film and television. Zac is also part of the production team for the Academy Awards and a former Walt Disney Imagineer. Zac is striving to be a groundbreaking producer and multimedia journalist. In his free time, Zac travels to different parts of the world for inspiration and a runner.
Andrew Fogel, Photographer
Andrew Fogel is a photographer for Golden Gate Xpress and Xpress Magazine who’s majoring in photojournalism and minoring in labor and employment studies. If he’s not taking photos, Andrew can be found rooting for the various Philadelphia sports teams. He aspires to be either a staff photographer or a sports photographer in the future.

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