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UCSC's Hidden Workforce. UC's Working Poor at UCSC

Students and workers are organizing on the UCSC campus to dump Sodexho and secure a living wage for cafeteria workers.

UCSCís Hidden Workforce
UCís Working Poor at UCSC

The University of California, Santa Cruz prides itself as being a world-class university and a leader in helping to solve the economic and social problems facing the communities of California. For years UCSC faculty and students have been working to reduce poverty and improve the lives of the regionís working poor. The University offers a variety of opportunities for its students to learn about the problems facing our society, while also providing opportunities for students to affect change.

AFSCME has discovered that UCSCís sub-contracting practices are contributing to the very same economic and social problems that the University of California has been working so hard to solve.

The UCSC community is fed by about 350 food service workers, who come to work at the University every day and see it as their home. Many of us see them everyday. They serve our food, bus our tables, prepare our food and clean the facilities. They work side-by-side with student workers. The vast majority of the workers are Latino. Interviews with the workers reveal they enjoy working with students and are proud to be part of the UCSC community.

But UCSC chose to subcontract its food services, placing the entire operation in the hands of outside corporations. Currently, Sodexho holds a multi-million dollar contract with the University. With this very substantial sum of money they still pay most workers only slightly above minimum wage. Health benefits are rarely available and, when offered, come with a hefty price tag of over $200 each month. Many workers have complained of discriminatory hiring practices, whereby it is very difficult for the predominantly Latino workforce to advance.

As a result of these working conditions, many UCSC food service workers struggle just to provide the most basic necessities to their families. Most of these workers earn less than what the State of California has determined to be the minimum wage required in order to support a family. As a result, most UCSC food service workers must work two or more jobs just to get by. Some are even forced to live in overcrowded housing with multiple families.

It doesnít have to be this wayÖ

The University should accept responsibility and immediately terminate its contract with Sodexho. Sodexho is a notoriously aggressive anti-union company, and is currently subjecting its UCSC workers to intimidating meetings filled with anti-union propaganda. Sodexho is currently the target of one of the largest ever class-action lawsuits in US history due to what many describe as its discriminatory promotion policies.

The University should directly employ the hard working employees who have made this University run for so many years. By entrusting its food service operations to an outside corporation, the University has relegated these workers to the regionís growing number of working poor. Because many are denied benefits they are forced to use an already stressed public emergency health system.

UCSC should make these workers permanent University union employees covered by the AFSCME Service Unit Agreement with the University of California. These workers can then be assigned to their current work areas, and continue the work that they perform today with the dignity and respect they deserve.

For more information, or to find out how you can help:

Call AFSCME Local 3299 at 831-425-4822
Call Students for Labor Solidarity at 831-429-8164

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other sodexho atrocities

Sodexho-Marriot also has large stakes in private prisons. They are creating an underclass by paying workers less than a living wage then profiting when said workers turn to "crime" to make ends meet.


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