Custodial workers employed through the contractor UG2 received the first of three payments on Friday, a month and a half after the University committed to providing financial support for subcontracted staff put out of work by the pandemic.
UG2 has scheduled three payments, spanning from May 29 to June 19, according to Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Janitorial Bay Area Coordinator Cesar Quiles. The first installation, which employees received this past Friday, fully compensates for the hours UG2 employees would have otherwise worked from April 6 through May 15, Quiles said.
The paychecks are fully funded by Stanford, as part of the University’s plan to support subcontracted workers since the coronavirus pandemic halted most on-campus operations in early March.
In early April, 130 UG2 employees were slated to be laid off, barring additional support from the University. On April 6, 84 employees were actually laid off, according to SEIU organizer Abigail Amador. No further layoffs have occurred since.
Employees affected by the layoffs will still receive pay from the University for hours they would have worked, according to a statement from UG2 released last week.
Provost Persis Drell announced on April 14 that Stanford would work with its contractors, including UG2 and food service providers Bon Appetit and Student Organized Services, to ensure that “with Stanford resources and the resources offered by the government, these firms will be supported in maintaining income and benefits for these employees through June 15.”
However, in an April 24 town hall hosted by Stanford Students for Workers Rights (SWR), subcontracted workers and union representatives said that these benefits had been slow-going and inadequate. University support was initially only going to cover UG2 workers’ healthcare benefits, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California 1st Vice President Denise Solis told The Daily at the time of the town hall.
University spokesperson E.J. Miranda attributed the delay to UG2’s internal payroll logistics, such as reaching out to laid-off employees and calculating accurate payment amounts for each worker.
The payments come after months of student advocacy calling on the University to expand and hasten their financial support for subcontracted workers. Efforts include several petition campaigns spearheaded by SWR, along with a crowdfunding campaign that garnered over $200,000 in donations and drew support from high-profile alumni such as 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro ’96.
Pay continuation for UG2 workers has been extended through August 31, according to a May 27 announcement from President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. Quiles said UG2 workers have not yet received more details on when those payments will occur.