FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20, 2018
CONTACT: Sandip Roy (President), (559) 250-5269,
Second Contact: Brian Huang (Board Member), (310) 433-0568,
LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA - UAW Local 4123: The union representing over 9,000 Teaching Associates, Graduate Assistants and Instructional Student Assistants (tutors) in the California State University System, is bargaining for a new contract that will help end the epidemic of student homelessness and food insecurity for students of CSU.
The union is fighting for wage increases that are consummate with the standard of living in California, tuition-waiver, and better protection against workplace harassment for women, people of color and the most vulnerable among us. UAW Local 4123 President mentioned, “It is unacceptable, that CSU, the largest public university in the U.S., would pay their Academic Student Employees an unlivable wage, resulting in rampant homelessness and poverty among students.”
The first bargaining session concluded during the week of August 6th with the student union passing a proposal to the CSU which would mandate guaranteed minimum hours for the most precarious class of Academic Student Employees in the CSU system: ISAs. Many of these workers have, until this point, been unable to plan their financial lives even as little as weeks in advance because they are unsure if they can count on guaranteed working hours.
The Union also passed a proposal which would end the practice of the CSU only giving semester long appointments to its Academic Student Employees. By only offering employment contracts on a semester basis, already precarious working conditions become even more unstable as student workers are unable to rely on steady work.
The CSU routinely maintains their mission is to increase graduation rates and move students through undergraduate education within four years. Yet, many of the issues UAW Local 4123 are fighting with The CSU to fix are examples of the root causes of student financial insecurity and homelessness–arguably the largest contributing factors to students being unsuccessful in their mission to graduate on time.
“Frankly, we’re overworked and underpaid.” Remarks Brian Huang, A Graduate Assistant at California State University Long Beach and bargaining team member of Local 4123. “Our members are often working two or three other jobs off-campus in order to make ends meet on top of their own coursework and tutoring/teaching assistantships. They (The CSU) always talk about graduation rates and timely graduation initiatives...we feel we’re doing their job for them by fighting to make these vital on-campus jobs something somebody can live on.”