The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

CSU Student Assistants’ Union Election Begins

The ongoing election could form the largest student worker union in history.
CSU+Student+Assistants%E2%80%99+Union+Election+Begins

In October of 2023, the CSU Employees Union (SEIU Local 2579) received approval from the Public Employment Relations Board for a union election that allows CSU student assistants to vote for union representation. The union will represent over 20,000 student assistants across all 23 CSU campuses, which could be the largest student worker union in history. If the CSUEU receives a majority vote (50% +1) in favor of union representation for student assistants, student assistants could bargain for higher pay, more/better hours, paid sick leave, and free parking. 

The union would represent students working in libraries, academic and financial support offices, student life centers, facilities, and more. Undergraduate and graduate students hold these positions, and many depend on their work to keep themselves afloat through their education. Many student assistants claim to work multiple jobs due to the 20-hours-per-week cap, and some receive pay less than their regional minimum wage.  

To be eligible to vote in the election, student assistants must have been employed with their university at some point during May through Oct. 2023. The voting period will start on January 25, and the final day to vote will be on February 22. This gives voters 4 weeks to cast their e-ballots. The results of the election will be announced on February 23.  

Organizers of the prospective union not only hope to receive the required majority of votes but also want to “win big” by receiving a very high, positive voter turnout. This is necessary for the union because strong election results would give the union more bargaining power. So even if the election successfully establishes the union, CSU would be more likely to ignore the newly formed union’s demands. 

On January 17, the California Faculty Association (CFA) released a statement in support of student assistants’ efforts to unionize: “We share a common goal: holding CSU leadership accountable to its mission of advancing equity and providing opportunities for its diverse student body.”

The CSU Student Assistants Union aims to be a driving force for demanding better working conditions that will enhance their education quality. By unionizing, they hope to reach a deal with the Cal State system that cultivates a better culture surrounding their work and life outside of the job. 

To learn more about the union, visit their website here. 

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