Monday, October 21

Letter to the Editor: AFSCME protests against Luskin Center hiring discredit UCLA efforts

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 continued its protests against UCLA’s Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center on Thursday. At this and other recent protests, AFSCME and its members have mischaracterized the staffing plan for the Luskin Center, scheduled to open in August, and we are concerned that this activity is misleading the public and the campus community.

What AFSCME is protesting about is simply not true, including its claims about lack of transparency in the hiring process, hiring nonunion workers and poverty jobs.

First, the University has been exceedingly transparent about the hiring process. UCLA has provided AFSCME with over 300 pages of documentation related to work to be performed by AFSCME-represented employees, including 14 job descriptions for AFSCME-represented positions. The open positions have been posted online since April, and UCLA has proactively advertised and encouraged AFSCME-represented employees to apply.

Second, the university is committed to hiring AFSCME-represented employees at the Luskin Center. For instance, in the Rooms Division at the Luskin Center alone, the university intends to hire approximately 37 AFSCME-represented employees. The university also plans to create an additional three new classifications at the Luskin Center within AFSCME’s own Service Unit.

Third, Luskin Center jobs are not poverty jobs. Indeed, the starting hourly rates for the positions are above $15 and in excess of the University of California’s own Fair Wage/Fair Work Plan. These jobs also provide the same level of exceptional health and retirement benefits currently available to AFSCME-represented and other employees on campus.

The university recognizes and underscores AFSCME and its members’ free speech rights, but it is important that before lodging claims of lack of transparency or poverty jobs, AFSCME verify its allegations and not ignore the over 300 pages of documentation contradicting them. Such false claims discredit the university’s efforts to hire union workers and unjustifiably portray UCLA in a negative light.

Peter Angelis

Assistant vice chancellor

UCLA Housing and Hospitality Services

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