Raw deal nothing new for janitors
November 5, 2009 11:50 AM
The fog had just started to break when Emma Bautista and Ray Victoria, two SF State janitors, were finishing their morning shift cleaning restrooms and straightening classrooms.
As students were arriving to a clean and tidy campus no one seemed to take notice of the people in charge of keeping it that way.
"We are the people that serve you in your restrooms and classrooms but we are not the people getting increases," Bautista said. "Now with the budget being a problem we were just cut 10 percent."
The California State University Employees Union is comprised of five different units on campus that include health care workers, groundskeepers, administration staff, custodians and other campus laborers outside of faculty.
"Among all of the bargaining units, Unit 5 (custodians) is the one that never gets any decent increase," said Bautista, a Unit 5 member.
Bautista started working at SF State in 1995, recalling that the pay increase has always been around two percent for Unit 5 workers while other units receive upward of 10 percent increases.
"With the constant salary mismanagement and the ten percent budget cut it's like taking away everything I have saved since I have been here," Bautista said.
The process of dispersing CSU funding begins after the proposals for units are submitted but what is given back to the bargaining table every year is much less than was asked for.
"When there is an increase, we are at the lowest scale but when there is a decrease we are cut across the board," Victoria said.
Unit 5 was also asked to vote on furlough days under the impression that it would prevent people from losing their jobs. When the vote in favor of furloughs passed, of the 67 people in Unit 5, 11 people were laid-off.
"I am a person that likes to keep my cars tuned up and grocery shop at the start of each week and now I can't," Bautista said sadly. "If another furlough comes we will not survive."
The CSUEU has joined in coalition with other campus organizations, like the California Faculty Association, to call for a stop to further cuts. They have been one of the quietest groups this year in terms of protesting.
"A lot of the Unit 5 people and even some of Unit 7, the lower-paid people, work second jobs so you can't expect them to be out here at rallies," said Russell Kilday-Hicks, the former VP of the CSUEU San Francisco branch.
The imbalance in increases has been tolerated with little public protest from the unit until recently.
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