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Campus worker profile: Week six

The Campus Workers’ Rights Coalition and members of CSRE35SI: An Introduction to Labor Organizing have put together a series of profiles drawn from both archival and current interviews with workers on-campus to highlight both the struggles that workers at Stanford face and the resilience that they bring to the work they do. Campus workers often have to deal with chronic understaffing and difficult menial labor. Alongside this, Stanford does not pay its workers a living wage despite the rising costs of food, health, and housing in the Bay, and workers must often cover many of their own health costs because of a lack of insurance benefits while managing hours-long commutes due to a dearth of affordable housing.

Both the Campus Workers’ Rights Coalition and the members of CSRE 35SI believe that students can play a powerful role in supporting the rights of workers on campus. This is an especially pivotal time for students to get involved, since workers represented by SEIU Local 2007, a labor union on campus, will have their current contract expire this summer. This means that SEIU 2007 and Stanford will enter contract negotiations and hopefully finalize a new contract that addresses workers’ needs. You can sign a petition to support the union in securing a fair contract here.

SEIU 2007 is one out of a few unions on campus, and this series features workers represented by USWW or SEIU 2007. We present both because there are many shared experiences between them. This the sixth profile in the series.

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I am from Salvador and live in San Jose with my spouse, who works too. We have four kids that are ages 4, 10, 11 and 15.

Every day, I drive to campus to work at a building across the street from the Stanford hospital. I wake up at 4:30 a.m. Once I arrive, I sweep for four hours in all the labs, from 6 to 10 a.m., then take an hour lunch break, and then take out the trash for two or three hours. There’s a lot of trash produced from the store, and it often contains a lot of merchandise.

My working conditions make it so that if I do one task, I don’t have time to complete all my other tasks. I often get in trouble with my boss for not completing everything, but I don’t have time to do so within my scheduled shift. Right now, there’s no time to work on details like dusting, even though those are the things that my boss still wants me to do. I feel responsible for my work; because there are so many students now, it’s a stressful time. Oftentimes, I get neck aches because of the stress.

I hope for a pay increase so I can take better care of my family. Everything is very expensive. I hope the students will join us as an integrated Stanford community; it’s important that they think about who takes out their trash and cleans at night.

Contact Campus Workers’ Rights Coalition at stanfordworkersrights ‘at’ gmail.com.

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