Student Employees Acquire Landmark Contract
Year-long battle yields landmark contract for CSU teaching assitants; Faculty union still in negotiations.
August 22, 2005 3:14 PM
The Academic Student Employees (ASEs) will begin this semester with their first ever union contract. Negotiations for the union were often contentious last year, and culminated in a one-day strike last December.
The contract for the ASEs (which include Teaching Associates, Instructional Student Assistants and Graduate Assistants) was negotiated after joining the United Auto Workers. UAW 4123 now represents 6,000 members on CSU’s 23 campuses, and more than 500 workers at SF State.
A guaranteed pay increase of 3.5 percent will take effect on October 1 of this year. Employees will also receive a $54 bonus check.
“We’re happy to have a contract for members and rights that we can enforce,” said Interim President of UAW 4123 Xochitl Lopez.
Lopez said that receiving excessive workloads and not being properly informed of job notifications had also been concerns for many ASEs.
UAW began representing ASEs thirty years ago at the University of Wisconsin. They have become prevelant on the west coast, with chapters at the University of Washington and University of California systems.
Lopez, says that seeing the discrepency between UC and CSU workers was a large factor in the decision to affiliate.
“We’re looking forward to a new, productive and cooperative relationship with the CSU,” said Lopez, an ASE at Sacramento State.
UAW is still currently drafting its bylaws and will then appoint representatives at each CSU campus, including SF State. The appointments will likely be made this semester according to Lopez.
The California Faculty Association, meanwhile, will return to work without the new contract that officers thought they would be able to negotiate with the CSU over the summer.
The CSU is the largest university system in the United States and the CFA represents its 23,000 professors, lecturers, librarians and counselors. Talks did not yield a new contract before the break, largely due to the faculty’s opppsition to the mandated defined-contribution retirement system proposed by the state last year that could potentially force faculty into early retirement.
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