Campus, News

CSULB trade workers strike near the Walter Pyramid

By: Jaylyn (Jd) Preslicka and Samuel Chacko

Honking and chanting could be heard on Tuesday as university workers began their one-day strike near Cal State Long Beach’s Walter Pyramid.

Teamsters went on strike at 22 different campuses. A flyer stated that the “CSU has committed numerous unfair labor practices,” and that their wages are 23.6% lower than that of University of California trade workers.

11/14/2023 Long Beach, Calif: Workers for the CSU Teamsters showed up at Cal State Long Beach to strike as they walked through E. Atherton St. and Merriam Way. Michael Harris (the person in the middle) is a Teamster 2010 union representative for CSULB and has been at CSULB for five years.
11/14/2023 Long Beach, Calif: Workers for the CSU Teamsters showed up at Cal State Long Beach to strike as they walked through E. Atherton St. and Merriam Way. Michael Harris (the person in the middle) is a Teamster 2010 union representative for CSULB and has been at CSULB for five years. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

Protesters stated that Teamsters continued working hard during the pandemic, yet the CSU has not shown any promising negotiations during the union’s bargaining.

“The way that the bargaining is going with the CSU, basically their offer was ridiculous for over a year, and they do everything they can to stall bargaining right after they walked away from the table and declaring impasse,” Michael Harris, a Teamster 2010 Stewart, said.

“We’re going to protect these jobs for the people coming up and taking them, the people who are working here now, we’re just trying to keep some sort of middle class.”

11/14/2023 Long Beach, Calif: Across E. Atherton St. more workers walking around the exit ways of CSULB as they use the blue horns, march around and chant. Multiple CSU campuses have CSU Teamsters striking from different times and locations.
11/14/2023 Long Beach, Calif: Across E. Atherton St. more workers walking around the exit ways of CSULB as they use the blue horns, march around and chant. Multiple CSU campuses have CSU Teamsters striking from different times and locations. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

Teamster workers expressed their frustration with higher-ups in the CSU who have received wage increases over the years while various union workers are stuck with the same pay. They believe a pay raise does not account for inflation.

“The last five contracts, every one of them has been below inflation. So what they’re basically asking us to do is not accept lower pay again. Every time we sign a contract, our pay goes down,” Harris said.

Javier Moncayo, who has been a CSULB housing electrician for five years, said that he hung American flags, union flags and some of the “Step Up or Strike Out” flags at his shop, but they were removed by management.

11/14/2023 Long Beach, Calif: Javier Moncayo walked around through E. Atherton St. as he showed the "CSU Unfair Labor" sign and got multiple honks from the local cars. Moncayo said that he felt great and that the strike shows the impact of how they can get together and make loud noise.
11/14/2023 Long Beach, Calif: Javier Moncayo walked around through E. Atherton St. as he showed the “CSU Unfair Labor” sign and got multiple honks from the local cars. Moncayo said that he felt great and that the strike shows the impact of how they can get together and make loud noise. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

“It wasn’t in clear view of the public […] on Friday, MPP [management] came in, ripped everything out,” Moncayo said.

“They could’ve just asked us to take it down but the problem is that a union flag or American flag is freedom of speech.”

While the strike only lasted for a day, protesters mentioned that a larger strike with other unions may occur if negotiations do not improve.

“Faculty authorized a strike though too, if we don’t get some movement from the Chancellor’s Office from our action here, then we’ll be going out with faculty in January,” union representative Michael Sherritt said.

“They’ve got a lot of people, there’s probably three or four thousand on this campus alone.”

11/14/2023 Long Beach, Calif: Near the middle ridgeway at Merriam Way are multiple students hitting huge buckets and holding picket signs shouting “We’re fired up, we can’t take no more” throughout the afternoon hours. They began picketing around 5 a.m. and got multiple drivers to honk as they went in and out of CSULB.
11/14/2023 Long Beach, Calif: Near the middle ridgeway at Merriam Way are multiple students hitting huge buckets and holding picket signs shouting “We’re fired up, we can’t take no more” throughout the afternoon hours. They began picketing around 5 a.m. and got multiple drivers to honk as they went in and out of CSULB. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

Teamsters and other union workers have been in a continuous fight with the CSU system in recent months. They will continue to work towards meeting their demands until further notice.

11/14/2023 Long Beach, Calif: Multiple students came out to shout out phrases as the CSU Teamsters held a labor strike in East Atherton St. at 11 a.m. and they were in the little ridge in the middle of the road. The three were chanting “We’re fired up, we can’t take no more” and “Who are we, teamsters."
11/14/2023 Long Beach, Calif: Multiple students came out to shout out phrases as the CSU Teamsters held a labor strike in East Atherton St. at 11 a.m. The three were chanting “We’re fired up, we can’t take no more” and “Who are we, teamsters.” Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

“You can take this as a warning shot. They’ve never had a strike before, so they think we won’t do it. No no no, we will. We literally got nothing to lose,” Harris said.

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