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Protestors rally for janitors

The Stanford Labor Action Coalition led a rally in White Plaza yesterday. The protestors hoped to convince Stanford and its subcontractor, UGL Services, to perserve the jobs of 29 janitors who would otherwise be unemployed in June due to contractual changes. (JIN ZHU/The Stanford Daily)

More than 20 protestors converged in White Plaza Wednesday afternoon to rally on behalf of 29 janitors who are set to lose their jobs this June. The Stanford Labor Action Coalition organized the rally in protest of UGL (UNICCO) Services, a services subcontractor that jointly employs the janitors with Stanford University.

Last December, the University’s contract with UGL Services, which replaced a preceding contract with ABM, initiated a complex rehiring process. UGL Services was contractually obligated to offer all ABM workers the opportunity to keep their jobs. However, several of the workers did not meet background check and identity verification criteria that were stipulated by federal law, University officials said in January.

The issue has not yet been completely resolved. Wednesday’s rally aimed to save the janitors’ jobs by pressuring UGL Services and the University administration to take action.

According to Eric Griffis ’12, a member of the Stanford Labor Action Coalition, most of the janitors have worked at Stanford University for many years — some for decades.

“Stanford continues to shirk responsibility for this issue by claiming that only UGL determines hiring and firing even though UGL would clearly respond to the needs of its client, Stanford,” Griffis wrote in an email to The Daily.

In addition to yesterday’s rally — one of several this year — the Stanford Labor Action Coalition has distributed flyers, enlisted the help of other student activist groups and organized worker-student council meetings on the issue. Griffis said the coalition also emailed workers in other unions at Stanford and initiated a petition on behalf of the janitors.

The petition alleges, “UNICCO and Stanford are blatantly violating the Northern California Maintenance Contractors Agreement with Service Employees International Union, Local 1877, the union that represents the workers.” Thus far, it has accrued more than 2,000 signatures.

– An Le Nguyen