Jared Colvin has been a groundskeeper for UCSB for seven years, four of which he dedicated to attain his political science degree from his employer. As an alumnus and employee of the university, Mr. Colvin and hundred others mounted a state-wide unfair labor practice strike Wednesday over new allegations tied to the University of California’s outsourcing practices.
The UC, said Mr. Colvin, needs “to start following their own rules and the states rules” regarding outsourcing workers.
Mr. Colvin and others present at the rally were displeased with how the employees who provide services at the university have not been notified of outsourced workers being hired.
“They’re not telling us, ‘We are hiring temporary workers,’” said Francisco Garcia, another groundskeeper who has been working for UCSB for more than two decades. Employers in any industry typically lower costs by hiring temporary workers instead of employees. The services of temporary workers — who perform the same amount of work as an employee but for lower wages and less (if any) benefits — can be paused more easily than laying off an employee. The employer can notify the contractor who provides the temporary workers the adjustments they would like to make.
UCSB, according to Mr. Garcia, has been working with Maryland-based contractor Aerotek to hire temporary workers. Mr. Garcia told the News-Press that the partnership between the university and the company is at least two years old.
Two years ago, a state audit found that the UC has not fully followed its own policy for “justifying its decisions to displace university employees with service contract workers,” who were working for wages about $4 lower than wages of employees.
“Those outsourced workers are not getting the same amount as workers,” said Ana Fabian, a UCSB student who rallied alongside the workers. Ms. Fabian told the News-Press that hiring contract workers willing to work for less pay and benefits deteriorate workers’ rights, hurting both the contract workers and the employees.
“Students are very crucial in this fight. We have the power to voice the concerns,” said Ms. Fabian, who added that she is using her power to advocate for the service workers whom she said she has found a community with.
A leader of the local community was also present to provide her support at the rally: Mayor Cathy Murillo.
“I say to the UC system: the mayor’s in the house. The mayor of the City of Santa Barbara is here, and I’m lending my support to all of you, the workers, the students, the Dodgers fans,” said Ms. Murillo. “I’m proud to be here. I will take this pro-labor, pro-worker attitude…”
Jonathan Abboud — a member of SBCC’s board of trustees who is in the race for a State Assembly seat — was also present, holding up a sign that said “On strike for unfair labor practice.”
The strikers rallied near key locations throughout the campus: Storke tower, the library; the registrar’s office, near which is also an area where campus tours start from; and Cheadle Hall.