Teamsters, CSU locked in negotiations amid impasse
TURLOCK, Calif. — More than 20 members of the Teamsters union and their supporters huddled at the busy corner of Turlock’s university circle for a one-day strike last Tuesday.
As part of a statewide strike of over 1,000 union members, they held up picket signs and banged sticks onto buckets as passing cars honked.
“We are electricians, we're plumbers, we're locksmiths, we're HVAC technicians, we're just a lot of skilled trade[s],” said Alex Stockland, the union’s chief steward at Stanislaus State.
Stanislaus State has a total of 26 employees represented by the Teamsters, all of which said they had planned to participate in the strike.
A long time coming
CSU Teamsters say they have been fighting for better working conditions and higher pay since January. They say the California State University system has not been bargaining in good faith and accused the system of violating state law.
Drew Scott, skilled trades director for the union, says some violations include “bargaining and bad stalling negotiations, interfering with workers’ rights to engage in union activities, unilaterally changing work rules, removing union signage and material from break rooms and threatening retaliation for participating in a strike action.”
“We've been in it for a year bargaining with these people,” Scott said. “So that's why we're just fed up, had enough.”
In their strike last week, Teamsters members were joined by other unions like the California Faculty Association and California State University Employees Union.
CSU officials say the university system and Teamsters have reached an impasse in their contract negotiations but are still engaged in the bargaining process under state law. CSU officials said in a statement to CVJC they dispute the union’s allegations of unfair labor practices, saying state board has not ruled on any issues brought forward by Teamsters in this round of bargaining.
The statement added that the university system and Teamsters are still engaged in the state-mandated impasse procedures and are beginning the fact-finding process, which could take several weeks to complete.
The negotiating parties can continue to bargain before, during or after the fact-finding report is published, according to the CSU.
“The CSU remains committed to the collective bargaining process and to reaching a negotiated agreement for increased compensation with the Teamsters, as we have done with five of our other employee unions in recent weeks,” the statement said.