CSUEU Chapter 304, Sonoma State University

CSUEU Membership

How to join || Why join? || Questions and Answers

How to join

To join CSUEU call or email any of your local union representatives on campus or visit CSUEU's membership page where you can join online or print an application form (feel free to hand it to someone on the Executive Board, we will be happy to take care of it for you).

Why join?

The number ONE reason to join the CSUEU union is to bring as much labor power as we can to the bargaining table.

At Sonoma State University we work under a union negotiated contract which determines how much we will be paid, how we will receive raises, what kinds of benefits we will receive and more.

Even though as a member of unit 2, 5, 7 or 9 you benefit from Union negotiations with the CSU, being a dues-paying member of the Union gives more clout to our negotiators. When the CSU looks at Union membership they only tally dues paying members.

At this point in time, less than 70% of all eligible employees in the CSU are paying CSUEU Union members. When CSUEU bargains for us, the CSU can argue that Union proposals are not backed by the majority of CSU employees since most employees are not paying members of the union. This allows the CSU to assume that employees who are not paying members agree with their proposals. This perspective is incorrect.

Your membership in CSUEU can give us the labor power we need NOW to maintain a strong voice within the CSU for staff.

Questions and Answers

Question: What has CSUEU ever done for me?

Answer: You can thank CSUEU for all the things you like about your job - competitive salary scales, training and internal promotion, fee waiver, the retirement system, health plans, life insurance, dental insurance, disability insurance, the grievance procedure, legal protection, classification standards, information and representation. Those are just a few things.

Question: I've always had my doubts about the ethics of organizations like CSUEU. Sometimes they have too much power. Sometimes they seem to work against the public interest.

Answer: Maybe you are right. Sometimes. But let's deal with CSUEU. We stand on our own record. Our constitution and bylaws say that our interests as public employees are the same as general public interests. Our history shows that we have lived up to that concept.

Question: Can you be more specific?

Answer: I could go on and on. But let's take the example of equal employment opportunities.

CSUEU believes in equal pay for equal work and that is in the public interest because it helps attract and retain qualified employees. We research salary rates in public and private industry for salary lags and comparable worth inequities. Our mutual goal with the university is a satisfied and productive work force.
Question: Well, the system is supposed to reward individuals for their individual performance. How can CSUEU help in that way?

Answer: CSUEU provides the fuel that makes the system go. It's a never-ending job to keep the university system in working order through consistent evaluations and well-designed classification standards so that employees can advance on the basis of their performance rather than on the basis of whom they know.

Question: What if I felt I was working out of my classification or had been unfairly passed over for promotion? What could you do for me?

Answer: CSUEU's stewards are trained in the contract and are familiar with the classification system. They can give you expert advice to identify out-of-class work situations, increased pay requirements and reclassification opportunities. Representatives can suggest ways of dealing with the supervisor and/or personnel and if necessary represent you in a grievance to enforce your contractual rights.

Although not every employee has to file a grievance, almost everyone has a question about the contract and its enforcement in their particular work situation. CSUEU represents many employees in grievances and advises many more on the details of the law and our collective bargaining agreement. Although no one can guarantee a "win," we can give you the most important tools in tackling a problem information and support.

Question: CSUEU is a large organization. Wouldn't my opinion count for more if I belonged to a university committee or staff group?

Answer: Your opinion would count for less for the same reasons we were talking about earlier. If you want a louder voice you need a bigger megaphone. Only the union can go to the bargaining table and negotiate on salaries, benefits and working conditions. Committees and councils have no voice on these important issues.

Question: My spouse belongs. Isn't it true there's no need for both of us to be members?

Answer: If you think your job is less important that your spouse's, that would be a reason for not joining. But a poor reason and one that could cost you your job or reduce your personal opportunities in university service.

Also look at the benefits picture alone. If both of you are covered by CSUEU benefit programs both of you are entitled to maximum payments for health problems, disability, dental care or other types of insurance.

Finally since both of you benefit from CSUEU programs both of you should help out with your membership.

Question: Who makes all this work? Who says what it is CSUEU members want and how do they know?

Answer: If you were a member you would help make those decisions. You would belong to a chapter and be represented by a bargaining unit council serving your occupational group. Your voice would help determine legislation, bargaining proposals, union officers, negotiating teams and dues rates.

Union committees develop goals relating to salaries and conditions of employment. Under collective bargaining CSUEU negotiates contracts affecting each bargaining unit it represents.

The Board of Directors meets at least five times per year. The CSUEU President, who is elected by members throughout the state, is a member of the board along with chapter presidents, statewide officers and Bargaining Unit Chairs & Vice Chairs. This board makes decisions on all matters that need immediate attention and which are not the legal responsibility of the bargaining units.

CSUEU has numerous statewide committees that deal with such technical subjects as retirement, insurance, classification, personnel rules and political action. Any member can speak at sessions of these committees. Any chapter or bargaining unit council can bring its problems to the proper committee.

The General Council is CSEA's highest governing body. It is composed of the Board of Directors, assistant regional directors, delegates from the chapters and councils and past CSEA presidents. It has the power to change any internal CSEA procedure and to establish any program that is not the legal responsibility of a bargaining unit.

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