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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 holds rally on SF State campus

Increased pay and paid leave are among the initiatives student workers are hoping for in upcoming negotiations
Andrew Fogel
The student workers rally stands outside the administration building on Sept. 21, 2023. (Andrew Fogel / Golden Gate Xpress)

The Union of Academic Student Workers organized a march on Thursday advocating for the provision of work benefits to student employees, starting at Malcolm X Plaza and concluding at San Francisco State University President Lynn Mahoney’s office.

Members from UAW 4123 began the rally at 10:30 a.m., encouraging SFSU students and student employees to show up and support the petition for a pay increase, paid leave, priority registration, cheap parking and free public transit.

“CSU management has really been dragging their feet to give us a contract we deserve. We’re gathered here today in a show of unity and to push for a better contract for our workers,” said Francesca Felder, a member of UAW 4123 at SFSU. “We’re looking forward to presenting our bargaining petition to Lynn Mahoney.”

UAW 4123 represents over 10,000 student workers across all 23 California State Universities according to their website. Thursday’s rally welcomed UAW members from CSU San Diego and Long Beach.

The union proposed a new contract to CSU on Aug. 30, demanding a 20% increase in student worker wages. Their current contract with CSU expires on Sept. 30.

CSU initially proposed a 3% increase to student worker wages which was later revised to 4%.

“It [the contract] doesn’t keep up with the cost of inflation, and we’re already barely able to make ends meet as student workers,” said Felder.

UAW held public comments for members and organizers of the rally. They distributed the petition, which was to be delivered to President Mahoney’s office, for last-minute signatures. The union also passed around flyers for rally-goers to hold up.

Chants of “more than four” and “hey hey ho ho, greedy admins gotta go” started from Malcolm X Plaza to the front of the Administration building before the march was halted by the administration.

Sean Sliger and Francesca Felder of the student workers rally tape their petition to SF State President Lynn Mahoney’s door on Sept. 21, 2023. (Andrew Fogel/Golden Gate Xpress) (Andrew Fogel)

Assistant Dean of Students Chris Trudell met with UAW members at the entrance to the Administration building. Trudell and other administration members allowed four members inside of the building, citing the university’s Time, Place and Manner policy as a reason the entire group couldn’t go in.

“They told us that we couldn’t go in as a group because that would be a safety hazard,” said Sean Sliger, a UAW member who went inside the administration building. “Essentially, what we did was bargain with them in order to put the petition on the door of Lynn Mahoney’s office.”

Sliger, along with three members of the union, went up to the fifth floor of the administration building, where they taped all 20 pages of the petition on President Mahoney’s office door.

President Mahoney wasn’t in her office as she’s recovering from a recent surgery, according to SFSU Director of Communications Bobby King.

“It’s a shame that Mahoney wasn’t in there, I hope she feels better, but we want our demands met and we want to see her put forward on the bargaining table,” Sliger said.

After the UAW returned from Mahoney’s office, the group consisting of approximately 60 protesters marched back to Malcolm X Plaza, where they continued their chants against the CSU.

“I think that minimum wage isn’t a fair representation of what ISA’s [instructional student assistants] and GTA’s [graduate teaching assistants] should be given, considering most of them are students,” said Sean Crouch, an ISA on campus.

Crouch expressed the need for a pay raise due to not making enough money from teaching.

“A lot of us like myself have more than one job just to survive,” Crouch said. “My other job is working at a restaurant, and I get paid more there just serving food and drinks than spending time putting together exams and grading exams. It’s weird that I get paid more money as a waiter than an educator.”

SFSU students attending Thursday’s rally drew comparisons with the recent approval of tuition increase, claiming student and student workers’ lives are only made harder by the CSU.

“It’s insane to see the 6% tuition hike being brought in an already difficult economy. Where the admin is doing amazing and getting incredible pay raises that’s not reflected on the student or student worker level,” said Will Watson, an SFSU student. “It’s really unfair, so it’s up to us to show what we need and want to get things done.”


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About the Contributors
Jason Hernandez
Jason Hernandez, A&E Editor
Jason Hernandez(he/him) is the arts and entertainment editor for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in education. He's lived in the Bay Area his whole life and currently lives near South San Francisco. During his free time, Jason enjoys watching sports, playing pool and thrift shopping. Once he graduates, he'd one day like to work for Vice News.
Andrew Fogel
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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