FAQ's - What is a Union, and Why Join

When a group of employees band together to form Unions and the members of the unions negotiate collectively with their employer, it's called Collective Bargaining.

Unions have many advantages for both sides. Instead of negotiating 16,000 different agreements, one for every staff employee, the CSU can negotiate once with CSUEU, and have that apply to all employees within their respective recognized Bargaining Units. When unionized workers seek recognition of their collective bargaining rights, the appropriate government entity will group them based on the type of work that they do into Bargaining Units. Unions negotiate contracts by bargaining unit that clearly state salaries, working conditions, benefits, and procedures for everything from sick leave and vacation to grievance and complaint processes.

The Union also represents your interests in lobbying for progressive worker-friendly reforms at the Capitol, and for maintaining your retirement and health benefits before CalPERS.

In California, because the Union negotiates a contract that affects all workers, every employee, whether they choose to be a member of the union or not, are required to pay "Fair Share" fees, which is their share of the costs the Union incurs in negotiating the contract and representing employees in disciplinary actions (i.e. all expenses except those related to recruiting members or political activities). The "Fair Share" fees are currently 99.1% of member dues.

So the difference between being a full Member and being a Fair-Share fee payer is probably about 35 cents a month. You can find the exact amount for your salary by going to the Dues Calculator.

Advantages of Membership

For one thing, you get all the special deals arranged by Member Services.

One of the major differences between Members and Fair-Share Fee Payers is that when it comes to disciplinary action, CSUEU does not provide representation to non-members. If you are given a notice of suspension or termination, you can exercise your right to a Skelly Hearing. Members are represented at Skelly hearings by a CSUEU staff Labor Relations Representative. Non-members are not. CSUEU will also present the appeal of your discipline to the State Personnel Board, where you will be professionally represented by a Labor Relations Representative. 

If you are a non-member experiencing a violation of the CSUEU Contract, CSUEU will provide representation, because we always defend our contract. However, if the issue is outside of the grievance procedure the union may ask you to pay a reasonable fee for representation.

And just like you can't get insurance after you have a car accident and get coverage, you can't join CSUEU after experiencing a disciplinary action and have us represent you retroactively.

Why Join?

When CSUEU goes to the Bargaining Table to negotiate a contract with the CSU, one of the biggest bargaining chips we have is our percentage of membership. If only 20% of the CSUEU-represented employees are actual members of CSUEU, the CSU won't take us very seriously. If 90% of the employees are CSUEU members, the CSU will pay a lot more attention.

So, in addition to the advantages listed above, it's in your own self-interest to join CSUEU.

Also, only members are allowed to vote to ratify or reject a proposed new contract.

If you want to join CSUEU,please contact one of the Chapter Executive Board members