Tuesday, July 23

UCLA hopes to hire subcontracted workers directly


Though a recent termination of UCLA’s largest maintenance
subcontracted agreement was a victory for labor activists, efforts
continue to ensure that these workers will be re-hired by the
university. Organizers also want to extend the effort to hire all
subcontracted workers directly.

The university chose not to renew its $621,000 contract with
Diamond Contract Services in The Anderson School at UCLA in an
attempt to hire subcontracted workers directly.

However, the termination of the contract may leave 18 employees
jobless. All workers employed at UCLA through Diamond have the
opportunity to apply for UCLA employment.

In past instances of terminated subcontracted agreements, all of
the workers employed prior to the termination were immediately
hired by UCLA, and local unions hope for the same outcome
concerning Diamond employees.

The contract, which was terminated on Oct. 13, provided for
janitorial services in The Anderson School.

Chancellor Albert Carnesale has said out-sourcing should not be
seen as an option, unless the jobs involved are highly specialized
or temporary.

Recently, UCLA has begun to review all out-sourced contracts
said university spokesman Lawrence Lokman. The review is part of an
attempt to make workers official employees of UCLA .

Officials of the American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees union said they back the university’s
actions to bring subcontracted workers in house.

“The union feels that not renewing the contract was 100
percent the right thing to do,” said Brian Rudiger, a lead
organizer for Union 3299, a local AFSCME chapter.

“We believe what is going to happen is similar to what
happened with the Metro workers ““ every worker that applied
received the job they previously had performed. Hopefully none of
the workers will lose their jobs,” Rudiger said.

One such successful attempt by AFSCME to bring UCLA employees in
house was the unionizing of Metro Building Maintenance janitorial
workers that were employed in Ackerman Union. The university
terminated its contract with the maintenance company in
September.

“Metro did not give us good pay or benefits. Before, when
we worked for Metro, we made $6.75 an hour and now we make $9.72.
Some of the biggest changes we’ve had are the benefits, the
pay raises and the 40-hour work week,” said Humberto
Martinez, 38, a UCLA janitorial employee in Ackerman Union.

Martinez attributes these benefits to the support from AFSCME,
students and local politicians.

Students involved in the fight supporting subcontracted workers
are continuing their efforts to bring employees in house.

“As students at UCLA, we have the power to create change
on campus and we have issues on campus that need addressing, and
one of these issues is subcontracted workers on campus. It is
completely unfair to have workers doing the same jobs and some
getting paid more just because they work for UCLA,” said
Christina Kaoh, a second-year molecular, cell, and developmental
biology student and Student Worker Front member.

This past June, students combined with subcontracted union
workers and local politicians to march to the chancellor’s
office to demand that all workers be brought in house.

Though the chancellor did not address the marchers at the time,
union leaders believe the university is moving in the right
direction.

“We feel really positive about the way things have been
moving. Chancellor Carnesale has shown a lot of leadership despite
outside pressures and he is beginning to address the issue of
subcontracted workers,” Rudiger said.

Local unions are calling for UCLA to work out an agreement that
will eventually bring all workers in house.

“The best thing that the university could do is work out
an agreement and timeline where other subcontracted employees can
be brought in house,” Rudiger said.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.