Yolo County Democratic Central Committee Resolution Unanimously Supports UC Davis Food Service Workers

On Monday Night, the Yolo County Central Committee voted unanimously to pass a resolution in support of Sodexho Workers of UC Davis.

The resolution, drafted by Robbie Abelon, a staffer for the Christopher Cabaldon campaign, cites among other things:

“a large disparity in benefits and wages between direct university workers and contracted out workers”

Moreover it further acknowledges:

“there have been multiple complaints of disrespect, unfair treatment, and sexual harassment that workers feel have been ignored by the management.”

The Yolo County Democratic Central Committee fully supports

“the working students’ effort to become directly contracted university workers, receive equal pay, equal benefits, and to have the right to unionize with AFSCME Local 3299…”

The resolution will be delivered to and solicit support from all elected officials in Yolo County.

As importantly, five elected officials or candidates for office delivered strong and impassioned statements on behalf of the Sodexho Workers. These include West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and Yolo County Supervisor Mariko Yamada who are both running for the Democratic Nomination to the 8th Assembly District. Former Davis School Board Member Jim Provenza and John Ferrera who are candidates for the Fourth Supervisorial District. And Davis City Councilmember Lamar Heystek.

Each of these individuals have agreed to provide a statement to the Vanguard in support of the Sodexho Workers. [At the time this article ran, only two of these were received, however, as I get statements, I will post them up here].

Former Davis School Board Member Jim Provenza:

“The Sodexho workers should be entitled to the same pay and benefits as other employees who work at UC Davis. Converting Sodexho food service workers to UC Davis employees– with full rights, pay and benefits– is the right thing to do. Every other University of California campus has taken this important step. We urge UC Davis to do the same.”

Yolo County Supervisor Mariko Yamada:

“I have and will continue to support UCD contract Sodexho workers in their efforts to achieve full employment with the University. Low-wage earners who are also under- or uninsured frequently end-up in emergency rooms or at the County for assistance at a much higher overall systems cost. Joining in the recent unanimous vote sends a message of solidarity with the workers as well as a message of encouragement to UCD leadership to move towards doing the right thing. A resolution of this matter should also be viewed in the larger context of the need for a universal, single-payer healthcare system for all Californians.”

John Ferrera, candidate for Yolo County Supervisor:

I have spoken in the past of my support of the University food service employees effort for reasonable compensation and working conditions and continue to support them. I believe that we need to protect these employees. Many of these people are students whose fees have been doubled by the University of California over the past five years. To say that these people who provide food to the University population in Davis should be the only food service workers in the UC system who are not afforded fairwage, benefit and job protections as others is simply wrong.

I am pleased that this week the Democratic Central Committee took a principled stand on this issue of fairness for UC Davis workers.

One of the points that Mayor Christopher Cabaldon made on Monday was that the City of West Sacramento outsources work. For instance, they contract out building permit approvals. He said they do that because there is a huge variance in the numbers year to year. Some years it might be a few hundred and others it might be several thousand. It makes no sense to hire and fire people because of this variance. However, that rationale does not exist with food service at the university. The demand for food does not widely vary year-to-year. The only rationale for outsourcing those contracts is cost savings to the university. Basically this is saving money at the expense of those employees who make the least money and are the most vulnerable to begin with.

Meanwhile yesterday a group of concerned citizens went to Sacramento to lobby four legislators on behalf of the Sodexho Workers. These legislators included Senator Mike Machado, Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, Assemblyman Dave Jones, and Senator Darrell Steinberg.

They delivered a letter to those legislators which read:

“We support the UC Davis food service workers in their request to become employees of the university. Until UC Davis is a responsible member of our community and directly employs contracted out workers, we do not support UC Davis receiving our public funds.

We are pleased that UC Davis is recognizing the disparity that exists for contracted out food service workers on campus. However, UC Davis is the only remaining campus within the UC system that still outsources food services.

We have listened to personal stories of the lack of worker access to affordable health care and to their lack of retirement benefits. Despite recent improvements, workers and their families continue to suffer because of disrespectful treatment, reduced hours, no pension, no rights or protection on the job, no job security, and unequal wages.”

In conclusion their asked the following:

“We ask our elected officials to help us end this policy of discrimination by withholding public funds until UC Davis is in parity with the rest of the UC System.”

The letter was signed by nearly 70 individuals representing a broad cross section of groups in Davis. These groups include: St. James Catholic Church, Unitarian Universalist Church, Davis Community Church, Friends (Quakers), CA Christian Association, UCD Professors both active and retired, Davis Peace Coalition, STEAC (Short Term Emergency Aids), Dos Pinos Co-OP, ACLU, Right to the Life, Saint Vincent de Paul.

The lobbying effort focused on an education campaign that aimed at describing the situation with Sodexho specifically the wage and benefit inequality but also the treatment of workers. Most paramount were actual Sodexho Workers who described in stark detail, often in Spanish, their disparate and unacceptable treatment.

The most interesting aspect of the lobbying effort is that it was done not by hired professionals but by regular citizens. In fact, the people I spoke with, Guy Turner who leads Gospel Justice and his wife Akumi Turner, along with Katie Brown a member of that group, had never lobbied before. It was a learning experience for them. They got to see the legislative process in action.

They fear that the Chancellor is now locked into his position and are attacking to bring to bear both public pressure and legislative pressure in order to put the food service workers at UC Davis on par with their counterparts at the other UC Campuses across the state.

For many this is a source of grave concern and deep embarrassment that a community like Davis has allowed this kind of treatment of Sodexho Workers to persist.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Labor Issues

116 comments

  1. And monkeys like bananas… An organization calling itself the “Yolo County Democratic Central Committee” needs to support every union thing that comes its way or its members will all lose their “Hero of the Committee” medals…

  2. And monkeys like bananas… An organization calling itself the “Yolo County Democratic Central Committee” needs to support every union thing that comes its way or its members will all lose their “Hero of the Committee” medals…

  3. And monkeys like bananas… An organization calling itself the “Yolo County Democratic Central Committee” needs to support every union thing that comes its way or its members will all lose their “Hero of the Committee” medals…

  4. And monkeys like bananas… An organization calling itself the “Yolo County Democratic Central Committee” needs to support every union thing that comes its way or its members will all lose their “Hero of the Committee” medals…

  5. Maybe Vanderhoef and some of high level Vice Chancellors and Provosts could contribute some of their salary increases in recent years to pay for this? They seem to have done pretty well for themselves.

    But, I guess that wouldn’t be a good precedent, showing such concern for lowly paid workers. Might start a dangerous trend.

    –Richard Estes

  6. Maybe Vanderhoef and some of high level Vice Chancellors and Provosts could contribute some of their salary increases in recent years to pay for this? They seem to have done pretty well for themselves.

    But, I guess that wouldn’t be a good precedent, showing such concern for lowly paid workers. Might start a dangerous trend.

    –Richard Estes

  7. Maybe Vanderhoef and some of high level Vice Chancellors and Provosts could contribute some of their salary increases in recent years to pay for this? They seem to have done pretty well for themselves.

    But, I guess that wouldn’t be a good precedent, showing such concern for lowly paid workers. Might start a dangerous trend.

    –Richard Estes

  8. Maybe Vanderhoef and some of high level Vice Chancellors and Provosts could contribute some of their salary increases in recent years to pay for this? They seem to have done pretty well for themselves.

    But, I guess that wouldn’t be a good precedent, showing such concern for lowly paid workers. Might start a dangerous trend.

    –Richard Estes

  9. It is an absolute travesty that in this town, with the kind of social conscience we have, that more people have not stepped forward on this issue. People can say, oh the Democrats always back the union. Bullshit. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the local party had abandoned the union. It’s nice to see both the Supervisor and Assembly candidates step forward on this, now we need action, I’m tired of the rhetoric without action from Wolk and Machado. Where are they on this? We’ve heard their soundbites, but what have they done?

  10. It is an absolute travesty that in this town, with the kind of social conscience we have, that more people have not stepped forward on this issue. People can say, oh the Democrats always back the union. Bullshit. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the local party had abandoned the union. It’s nice to see both the Supervisor and Assembly candidates step forward on this, now we need action, I’m tired of the rhetoric without action from Wolk and Machado. Where are they on this? We’ve heard their soundbites, but what have they done?

  11. It is an absolute travesty that in this town, with the kind of social conscience we have, that more people have not stepped forward on this issue. People can say, oh the Democrats always back the union. Bullshit. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the local party had abandoned the union. It’s nice to see both the Supervisor and Assembly candidates step forward on this, now we need action, I’m tired of the rhetoric without action from Wolk and Machado. Where are they on this? We’ve heard their soundbites, but what have they done?