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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

Teamsters 2010 Union goes on strike

Members of the Teamsters union protest for a better contract on 19th and Holloway in front of the commuter entrance
Tam V
Teamsters union members hold up their picket signs and chant as they cross the street to block off 19th Street and Holloway in protest of unfair bargaining in their contracts at SFSU on Nov. 14, 2023. (Tâm Vũ / Golden Gate Xpress)

On Nov.14, the Teamsters union went on strike to protest unfair bargaining and a lack of improvement in their contracts. The Teamsters union represents electricians, plumbers, carpenters and other trade skill workers. Union members, students and other people stood with them in solidarity on the picket line while holding signs and marching around the school. Teamsters unions across the other 22 CSU campuses also went on strike today.

The striking party traveled from the picket line, past the Administration building, through the quad, past Burk Hall and the student center, and continued out onto Font Blvd. From there, the striking union walked parallel to the Mashouf Wellness Center and next to the Mary dorm buildings. They then walked on Lake Merced Blvd past the lot 20 parking garage and headed toward Annex 1 and Annex 2. The union then looped back to the picket line.

Jose Fuentes is the business agent for Teamsters Local 2010. Fuentes and others were shouting into bull horns and leading chants while marching around campus. He also helped organize today’s strike on San Francisco State’s campus.

“Our members are willing and able to strike for a day, two days, three days or whatever it takes to get a fair contract,” Fuentes said.

The CSU has not bargained in good faith, according to several Teamsters union members. The CSU is also bringing in contracted workers as replacements for union members on projects like electrical, carpentry and plumbing in new developments being built.

“They’re also trying to take away methods on how to get equity increases,” Fuentes said. “The proposal that they have on the table is not even competitive to the private sector market for electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and workers like that.”

Jaime Alvarado is an electrician and a part of the union. Alvarado has been on the picket line since the strike first started at 7 a.m.

Xavier Morgado, an electrician, chants, “We are your community, we support you. Please support us back” to students coming out of the Muni train on the way to classes on 19th Street and Holloway at SFSU on Nov. 14, 2023. (Tâm Vũ / Golden Gate Xpress)

“We want to show them that we’re ready,” Alvarado said. “We’re ready to do whatever it takes to get a just contract because that’s what it really is about, is to get a fair contract. That’s what we’re striking about.”

Debbie Elia is the facilities project supervisor for housing at SFSU. Elia has been seeing the change in labor wages across the state, but has yet to see a change on campus.

“It’s been years. This is not the first time that they’ve been unfair to us,” Elia said. “It’s been years of unfairness and we’re behind all the other trades locally, and across the state.”

The CSU and Teamsters are at an impasse in their contract negotiations. Both parties are still in the process of bargaining according to an email statement from CSU’s Director of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs Amy Bentley-Smith.

“The CSU remains committed to the collective bargaining process and reaching a negotiated agreement for increased compensation with the Teamsters, as we have done with five of our other employee unions in recent weeks,” Bentley-Smith stated in an email.

Students came out and supported the union members who were striking. They could be seen out on the picket line, chanting to people as they crossed said line to go to classes for the day. Some students brought food, hand warmers and more. Dulce Euclide is a first-year child adolescent development major and like other students, was upset about how the CSU has treated the Teamsters union.

“First of all, I think that it’s bullshit,” Euclide said. “I think that especially with the stuff we’ve been seeing for CFA (California Faculty Association), we need to come out and support our workers, there is no difference. We need to support workers’ rights no matter what, they make our school happen.”

Ian Longenbaugh is the general foreman of the new Science building project that is currently in construction. Longenbaugh and his crew had their day cut short because of the strike and chose to stand in solidarity with Teamsters.

Teamsters union members cross the street toward the Muni Station as an act of protest against the unfair bargaining in their contracts on 19th Street and Holloway at SFSU on Nov. 14, 2023. (Tâm Vũ / Golden Gate Xpress)

“It makes me feel good knowing that we missed a day’s wages but we all stand together, we stand with them,” Longenbaugh said. “We let them know that because we lost wages, that’s okay. They need better wages for themselves.”

Secretary Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz was out leading the strike into the intersection of 19th and Holloway Ave. Rabinowitz and others successfully stopped traffic a multitude of times and got passersby’s attention.

“We’re standing up to CSU and their arrogance, their greed, their mistreatment of workers,” Rabinowitz said. “We represent 1,100 skilled trades workers throughout CSU who do the hard work that keeps the university running every day.”

Rabinowitz and other members of today’s strike were saying that if their contract demands are not met, then the union will not go back to work and the school will shut down.

“They don’t have a university without our work,” Rabinowitz said. “It’s about time they show appreciation in the form of a fair contract and bargain in good faith with us.”

Those who were out on the picket line want to see the CSU stand with their union workers, not against them. First-year broadcast and electronic communication arts major Elsy Hernandez could be seen passing out flyers that covered all the different reasons for the strike happening today.

“If you’re a student and maybe you don’t understand why you should be supporting this, why you should be out here — it’s all about solidarity,” Hernandez said. “One day we’re gonna be workers, one day we’re gonna be out here fighting for our salary, our rights. It’s these people who are out here doing all of this wonderful work that make our school run.”


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About the Contributors
Sophia Osborn
Sophia Osborn, Engagement and Online Editor
Sophia Osborn (she/her) is the Engagement and Online editor for Golden Gate Xpress. She is majoring in journalism and minoring in English literature. Sophia has always loved keeping up with the news and reading whatever she can. Coming from sunny San Diego, she graduated from Carlsbad High School, where she wrote and was an editor for the school paper, the Lancer Link. This is her second semester on staff and she is extremely excited about what the future holds in store for her. In her downtime, Sophia can be found hanging out with friends, reading, writing, or playing Mario Kart with her friends.
Tam Vu
Tam Vu, Photo Editor
Tâm Vũ (she/her) is a Vietnamese-American photographer for Golden Gate Xpress and Xpress Magazine. She is a fourth-year photojournalism major with a minor in Asian American studies. She originally entered SF State as a print and online journalism major, but switched to photojournalism in her second year after finding her passion for visual storytelling. Her special interests include Asian American identity and music journalism. In the near future, she hopes to make a video documentary on her parents' immigration story to highlight the generational impact that the Vietnam War has on many families. Outside of school, she loves to attend live music shows, find new music, and crochet.

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