Workers say Stanford’s new subcontractor threatens union jobs

City says 7,000 summer jobs are available for Boston youth ages 14 to 18

For the past 17 years, Esperanza Gutierrez has worked as a janitor at Stanford Redwood City. Maria Almanza’s 10th birthday is scheduled for May. But both Gutierrez and Almanza — and 20 other cleaners who have been contracted to Stanford for many years — say their jobs are now at risk.

In late March, Stanford decided to switch from UG2—a maintenance service company used by the university to subcontract workers —to a new care provider, Medal serviceat its Redwood City campus.

The shift is scheduled to take place on Friday, April 14 — a change that the union claims would violate the union’s existing master contract and could affect the employment of 25 UG2 cleaners in Redwood City, with potential ramifications for all 7,000 union members.

On Wednesday, dozens of Stanford University students drove to Redwood City at noon to show their support for workers who advocate for their employment. He also sought students and about a dozen workers who were on their lunch break at the time to introduce Chief Operating Officer Laura Di Mario with a letter petition which received over 500 signatures from Stanford affiliates within 24 hours. The petition demanded that “Stanford honor its contract” not to become Medallions and not require workers to undergo a “rehire” process.

Immediately upon entering the academy auditorium, students and staff were asked to leave the building and were escorted by Security and Access Coordinator Terry Flamer and an Allied Universal security officer.

Erendida Cirillo, lobby ambassador for Academy Auditorium, said students could not demonstrate or be in the building because she said she felt “uncomfortable” with the number of students in attendance and referred to Tuesday’s “demonstration” on the Redwood City campus. Cirillo said Redwood City was a “closed-loop campus.”

University spokeswoman Louisa Roth wrote that “[v]Travelers, including students, are welcome to Stanford Redwood City,” and a check-in process is required in all buildings.

Stanford Students for Workers Rights (SWR), a student organization that helped lead Wednesday’s events, wrote in a statement to The Daily that “the sign-on process…was not provided for [them]despite being asked to sign in and “engage in a constructive conversation.” They said no clear explanation was given as to why they were not allowed inside the building.

“We are disappointed that despite the fact that we were respectful, asking only to speak with an official, other than that, leave a message explaining our request, we were met with hostility and a lack of transparency,” SWR wrote of the encounter.

Located 25 minutes from the main campus at Stanford, Stanford Redwood City is a 35-acre campus where approximately 2,700 Stanford employees work in departments including the School of Medicine, residential institutions, restaurants, and Stanford University Libraries.

On both the main campus and the Redwood City campus, Stanford service workers, including those who work in dining halls or clean academic buildings, are either employed directly by the university or contracted by UG2. Subcontracted UG2 workers are represented by United Service Workers West (USWW), a division of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

According to the USWW, Medallion will treat UG2 workers as “new hires” in the onboarding process, requiring on-going employees to go through an electronic verification procedure, which is usually reserved for new hires. E-Verify is a web-based government system for checking employee citizenship status, which the USWW claims “places an undue burden on immigrant workers regardless of status,” and “creates a hostile environment…against the core values ​​of Stanford University.”

The USWW claims that treating UG2 workers as “new employees” is a violation of the master contract: Northern California Maintenance Contractors Agreement 2020-2024.

according to mr a contract, “The service record of employees maintained by an employer shall not be broken by this change in employer. Leave seniority and sick leave dates from the previous employer shall be respected.” The main contract stipulated that employees such as UG2 workers should be retained and treated as “continuing” employees.

The university wrote in an email to The Daily that Medallion will provide UG2 employees at its Redwood City campus with “continued employment at their current salaries.” They also noted that Stanford had no role in the contract between Medallion and the union or the onboarding process.

“A medal and the union representing custodial workers is currently under discussion,” she wrote. “We hope that any relocation issues can be resolved promptly and amicably.”

Rapport has not confirmed whether employees will retain their current benefits as a continuing employee, including seniority.

Will Valve, USWW organizer, said Stanford gave the union 30 days’ notice about changing subcontractors. He said that notice was too short because it’s a decision that could affect when and where the cleaners work. He described negotiating with Medalion and Stanford as a “frantic and difficult process”.

In response to claims by the USWW that Medallion’s treatment of workers during the transition from UG2 would not honor the union contract, Medallion representative Luis Camacho said that any employee with problems should contact human resources.

“We have to honor this union contract,” Camacho said. “i don’t know why [an] The employee told you. I’m sure they’ll honor any union contract, for sure.”

Rapport wrote that “UG2 has absorbed the custodial staff they asked to be retained”.

However, SWR wrote in a statement that it was “unfair” to call employees “assimilated” by UG2: “Employees reported that they only received offers with night shifts scheduled or on hours that were impossible for them to do because of their home and family duties.” The staff only offered to transfer to unsuitable unsuitable schedules, especially considering that many of them had seniority as daytime custodians.”

According to the online job search existing As of April 6th, Medallion is currently “hiring” cleaners in Redwood City.

Ashwin Prabhu 25, a member of SWR who attended the live event, said the university’s “sudden decision” left the staff’s job security “in complete jeopardy”.

“Some people on this campus are treated as disposable for the benefit of the people who benefit from this campus, like students, like faculty, like researchers,” Prabhu said. “People need to think about who makes the Stanford run and how they are treated.”

Rapport said that the university “is very much appreciated[s] The work of the secretaries who work on our campus.”

SWR member Danny Sales25 said he believes students have a strong leverage with the university, and that more students should show their support for workers.

“Students are generally better off with the university because we can’t be fired,” Sales said. I think we have to be careful sometimes, but there’s not much fear of retaliation. We are freer to use our voice, protest or petition, and it’s usually easier for us not to worry about any consequences.”

In its statement, SWR acknowledged that while Stanford is not directly involved in many negotiations between the union and its subcontractors, the university “has a duty” to its longtime janitors and has a responsibility to choose who it deals with.

This isn’t the first time the janitors working on the Stanford campus have turned to collective bargaining. Last May, university janitors hired by UG2 entered negotiation meetings with UG2, demanding a $2 hourly wage increase each year for the next three years, and increased vacation days and hazard pay for working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fact that this happens over and over again, it’s no coincidence. At some point, it’s up to Stanford to actually step in and stop subcontracting ideally and hire workers directly,” Sales said. “But if they don’t, at least make sure they That subcontractors act ethically and act legally.”