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Student Worker Health & Safety Rights & Town Hall

Updated: Sep 22


With COVID-19 cases rising across the state, many Academic Student Workers have raised concerns about health and safety with returning to the classroom. While many aspects of the CSU’s reopening plans remain vague and subject to change, what is certain is that you have the right to safe working conditions. Additionally, our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions, meaning that Academic Student Workers not only have the right but also the responsibility for ensuring the CSU is held accountable to a safe reopening.


We are hosting a statewide Student Worker Health and Safety Town Hall on Friday, September 17th at 3pm, to talk about any questions, concerns, or uncertainty you have as an Academic Student Worker. We also encourage you to check out our summary of your rights related to safe working conditions and COVID below.


CSU Student Workers have strong contractual and legal protections to a safe & healthy work environment, guarantees for instructional support, paid COVID sick leave, and the right to reasonable work accommodations. Your union will have your back: if the university fails to meet these obligations, reach out to union@uaw4223.org and a steward will be in touch with you.


Safe & Healthy Workplace


Article 11 of our contract requires CSU to maintain a safe working environment for all Academic Student Workers.


Department of Labor regulations give workers who are asked to work without adequate safety measures and who have a good faith belief they face abnormally dangerous conditions based on the circumstance the right to refuse work or to take action to ensure their safety, e.g., to move a class online or outside if necessary. Learn more about exercising your right to a safe and healthy work environment here and here.


Expanded COVID-Related Leave


Earlier this year, we came to an agreement with CSU management about paid COVID-related Leave for Student Workers. In short, you can take paid leave when you are experiencing COVID symptoms, when you need to quarantine, or when you are caring for a family member or child who has COVID or cannot go to school or daycare because of closures. If you have questions about how to request this leave, or are experiencing an issue, please get in contact with your union.


Instructional Support


Article 13 requires the university to provide Student Workers with the instructional support to perform their work responsibilities - this might include Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).


Protections from Retaliation


If you have concerns about how to best address safety concerns, or about potential retaliation, please get in contact at union@uaw4123.org. Our contract provides strong protections against retaliation for speaking up about contract violations or safety issues.

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