CSU student workers to hold approval vote to constitute union

By Athena Flores, December 5, 2023

The California State University Student Workers Union moves closer to an approval of being official union as an estimated voting date of January 2024 was announced.

The organization received the authorization to hold a vote in October when more than 8,500 union cards were submitted to the Public Employee Relations Board, surpassing the needed 30% of the bargaining unit for a contract extension. With this approval, campaigning efforts have intensified as a voting date approaches.

Efforts to unionize student employees is an ongoing process as employees began speaking up about the lack of a healthy work environment on their Cal State campus. Advocates hope to incorporate fair wages, better hours and possibly even health care. Now that a vote is authorized, securing the win in the upcoming election is crucial to moving forward and establishing the union.

The process to unionize seems straightforward, but more steps are required to fully secure what employees are asking for.

Magdalena Macias, who has worked with the Service Employees International Union for health care for more than 10 years, explained the process to establish a union is intricate and intentional. Although an election date is in the works, the actual establishment of a union depends on the success of the vote.

“Once an employer is notified, the board will schedule an election day within usually six to eight weeks that the union cards are received,” said Macias. “All they have to do is win by 50% plus one. If that happens, they are now a union.”

If the majority of the CSU voters decide to move forward with the union, bargaining for better working conditions, pay and all other related topics will take place. According to the National Law Review, this process takes up to 409 days after the union is granted.

Cal Poly Pomona student assistant and CSU Student Workers Union intern Tori Umeda began her involvement in the campaign after previous on-campus job conditions left her feeling unfairly treated by employers. Umeda has been collecting surveys around campus and meets with other CSU campus representatives to further spread word of the union vote.

“We have the authorization to vote, but right now we’re still trying to collect as many surveys and campaign as much as possible to gain that momentum,” Umeda said.
Although a specific date is not set, the actual vote will most likely take place in January 2024 and will offer accessible ballots through an online vote for students employees who cannot vote in-person.

CSU student assistants wait for further updates as they continue to fill out the survey’s provided, deciding whether they will vote “yes” or “no” in the upcoming election.

Student assistants like Jules Valdi are in favor of the union.

“I filled out the survey they had printed and sent around campus,” Valdi said. “Surprisingly I agreed with most of the statements. The questions that asked about having to work extra without being compensated, and questions around those lines made me realize that we have been unjustly treated.”

More information and updates regarding the union can be found on its website.

Feature Image Courtesy of Maximus Rodriguez.

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