Mayor Greenwald Joins Councilmember Heystek in Support of Sodexho Workers

On Monday April 14, 2008, Davis Mayor Sue Greenwald wrote a letter to UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, making public her “support of Sodexho workers’ requests.”

Greenwald has met with Sodexho workers over the past two years and chose to make her support public now as she and City Councilmember Lamar Heystek have begun taking public actions for a Living Wage City Ordinance.

Mayor Sue Greenwald in a letter to Chancellor Vanderhoef wrote:

“I feel strongly that if the University truly believes in its ‘Principals of Community’ ethic it would treat all of its workers with the respect and equity that they are due.”

She goes on to once again point out that:

“UC Davis is the only UC campus which does not include its food workers as part of its community.”

Mayor Greenwald called on the Chancellor to recognize the Sodexho workers’ requests for the “same benefits and wages as the University food services employees, as well as union representation.”

Meanwhile a Senate Committee on Tuesday approved legislation to ensure that the University of California contracts with responsible businesses and that there is a competitive bidding process every three years. In addition, the University of California (UC) Responsible Contracting Act requires the University to maintain a centralized database of contracts that is available for public review at each campus.

Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) introduced the measure as a result of numerous reports of UC’s deficient and non-transparent contract bidding process. It was recently uncovered that a UC Santa Barbara contractor violated wage and hour laws. For more than a decade, UC Davis has failed to put out to a bid contract for food services. In fact, the same food service company has held the contract for over thirty years.

Senator Yee said:

“SB 1596 will ensure that the University contracts with responsible entities, workers are protected, and the taxpayers’ and students’ dollars are being wisely spent. It is imperative that UC has a competitive environment where bidding is fair, transparency and accountable to the people of California.”

Senator Yee in his comments singled out UC Davis:

“It is unacceptable that UC Davis has contracted with the same campus food service company for decades without putting the contract out to bid. The cost to taxpayers and students as a result of this policy is immeasurable.”

According to a Press Release from AFSCME 3299:

“Recently, UC Santa Barbara awarded a low-bid contract to provide painting services on campus. Unfortunately, the contractor declared bankruptcy and the employees were unable to cash their paychecks for painting services they had already provided the University. Wages owed to workers included approximately $90,000. SB 1596 is expected to prevent such events from happening in the future.”

Lakesha Harrison President of AFSCME 3299 said:

“The passage of SB 1596 is crucial to ensuring the fundamental right of the public to have access to information and providing greater oversight of the University. The bill will ensure that questionable practices, like at UC Davis where Sodexo has had the contract with the university for over 3 decades with no competitive bidding in over 10 years, would be put to an end. The bill will also ensure that contractors are responsible so that Californians receive quality services at the best costs.”

While the bill was passed out of committee, it remains a long way from passage into law.

SB 1596 will also ensure competition by requiring all contracts be limited to three years terms and that upon completion of the term, the University shall solicit bids through a competitive bidding process. The would avoid a repeat of what happened with UC Davis in 2004, when the University announced a six year extension with Sodexho at the same time the university announced a multi-million dollar investment in the campus by the same contractor. This despite growing public scrutiny at that time into the food service contract.

—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.

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Labor Issues

120 comments

  1. What took her so long? I guess better late thaen never. What about living wages where has her leadership been on that? Of course she doesn’t need to work for a living so she probably never gave it much thought.

  2. What took her so long? I guess better late thaen never. What about living wages where has her leadership been on that? Of course she doesn’t need to work for a living so she probably never gave it much thought.

  3. What took her so long? I guess better late thaen never. What about living wages where has her leadership been on that? Of course she doesn’t need to work for a living so she probably never gave it much thought.

  4. What took her so long? I guess better late thaen never. What about living wages where has her leadership been on that? Of course she doesn’t need to work for a living so she probably never gave it much thought.

  5. Cheap shots against people who support your cause aren’t a very effective style of politics, and, in this instance, suggests that it is no longer political for you, but personal.

    –Richard Estes

  6. Cheap shots against people who support your cause aren’t a very effective style of politics, and, in this instance, suggests that it is no longer political for you, but personal.

    –Richard Estes

  7. Cheap shots against people who support your cause aren’t a very effective style of politics, and, in this instance, suggests that it is no longer political for you, but personal.

    –Richard Estes

  8. Cheap shots against people who support your cause aren’t a very effective style of politics, and, in this instance, suggests that it is no longer political for you, but personal.

    –Richard Estes

  9. Why I took so long was explained in my letter.

    Below is the relevant excerpt:

    “…I feel uncomfortable complaining of actions of others, of which we as a city, are guilty.

    Over the years, in labor negotiations, I have always argued for a more progressive pay structure. I have always argued that we should show restraint in our salary and benefit increases to our management and to our workers who are paid at a management pay level, in order to be fair and more generous to our other workers and, in particular, those who make the least.

    (In fact, fair wages for our lower paid worker would cost very, very little compared to the routine increases we have been giving to our management and highest paid workers).

    In short, in our own city pay structure, I have always advocated for a more progressive total compensation package.

    Unfortunately, I have always been in the minority. During the last two years, I have met with Sodexho workers. I have explained to them that I am very sympathetic and support their cause, but I did not have the majority support of the City Council to resolve this similar labor issue with the City. I told them that I would have to at least make attempts to get our own house in order before writing to you.

    While I have been arguing and fighting for a progressive pay structure for many years, Councilmember Lamar Heystek brought the living wage ordinance to the City Council. I was the only member who supported him.

    When our landscaping and janitorial contracts came up for renewal, Lamar and I insisted that the contracts contain a minimum $13.11 per hour wage. I was adamant about this.

    Lamar and I lost even this modest motion. But because we are now at least taking public action, rather than carrying on the fight behind closed doors during labor negotiations, I feel a little more comfortable writing to you in support of the Sodexho workers’ requests.”

  10. Why I took so long was explained in my letter.

    Below is the relevant excerpt:

    “…I feel uncomfortable complaining of actions of others, of which we as a city, are guilty.

    Over the years, in labor negotiations, I have always argued for a more progressive pay structure. I have always argued that we should show restraint in our salary and benefit increases to our management and to our workers who are paid at a management pay level, in order to be fair and more generous to our other workers and, in particular, those who make the least.

    (In fact, fair wages for our lower paid worker would cost very, very little compared to the routine increases we have been giving to our management and highest paid workers).

    In short, in our own city pay structure, I have always advocated for a more progressive total compensation package.

    Unfortunately, I have always been in the minority. During the last two years, I have met with Sodexho workers. I have explained to them that I am very sympathetic and support their cause, but I did not have the majority support of the City Council to resolve this similar labor issue with the City. I told them that I would have to at least make attempts to get our own house in order before writing to you.

    While I have been arguing and fighting for a progressive pay structure for many years, Councilmember Lamar Heystek brought the living wage ordinance to the City Council. I was the only member who supported him.

    When our landscaping and janitorial contracts came up for renewal, Lamar and I insisted that the contracts contain a minimum $13.11 per hour wage. I was adamant about this.

    Lamar and I lost even this modest motion. But because we are now at least taking public action, rather than carrying on the fight behind closed doors during labor negotiations, I feel a little more comfortable writing to you in support of the Sodexho workers’ requests.”

  11. Why I took so long was explained in my letter.

    Below is the relevant excerpt:

    “…I feel uncomfortable complaining of actions of others, of which we as a city, are guilty.

    Over the years, in labor negotiations, I have always argued for a more progressive pay structure. I have always argued that we should show restraint in our salary and benefit increases to our management and to our workers who are paid at a management pay level, in order to be fair and more generous to our other workers and, in particular, those who make the least.

    (In fact, fair wages for our lower paid worker would cost very, very little compared to the routine increases we have been giving to our management and highest paid workers).

    In short, in our own city pay structure, I have always advocated for a more progressive total compensation package.

    Unfortunately, I have always been in the minority. During the last two years, I have met with Sodexho workers. I have explained to them that I am very sympathetic and support their cause, but I did not have the majority support of the City Council to resolve this similar labor issue with the City. I told them that I would have to at least make attempts to get our own house in order before writing to you.

    While I have been arguing and fighting for a progressive pay structure for many years, Councilmember Lamar Heystek brought the living wage ordinance to the City Council. I was the only member who supported him.

    When our landscaping and janitorial contracts came up for renewal, Lamar and I insisted that the contracts contain a minimum $13.11 per hour wage. I was adamant about this.

    Lamar and I lost even this modest motion. But because we are now at least taking public action, rather than carrying on the fight behind closed doors during labor negotiations, I feel a little more comfortable writing to you in support of the Sodexho workers’ requests.”

  12. Why I took so long was explained in my letter.

    Below is the relevant excerpt:

    “…I feel uncomfortable complaining of actions of others, of which we as a city, are guilty.

    Over the years, in labor negotiations, I have always argued for a more progressive pay structure. I have always argued that we should show restraint in our salary and benefit increases to our management and to our workers who are paid at a management pay level, in order to be fair and more generous to our other workers and, in particular, those who make the least.

    (In fact, fair wages for our lower paid worker would cost very, very little compared to the routine increases we have been giving to our management and highest paid workers).

    In short, in our own city pay structure, I have always advocated for a more progressive total compensation package.

    Unfortunately, I have always been in the minority. During the last two years, I have met with Sodexho workers. I have explained to them that I am very sympathetic and support their cause, but I did not have the majority support of the City Council to resolve this similar labor issue with the City. I told them that I would have to at least make attempts to get our own house in order before writing to you.

    While I have been arguing and fighting for a progressive pay structure for many years, Councilmember Lamar Heystek brought the living wage ordinance to the City Council. I was the only member who supported him.

    When our landscaping and janitorial contracts came up for renewal, Lamar and I insisted that the contracts contain a minimum $13.11 per hour wage. I was adamant about this.

    Lamar and I lost even this modest motion. But because we are now at least taking public action, rather than carrying on the fight behind closed doors during labor negotiations, I feel a little more comfortable writing to you in support of the Sodexho workers’ requests.”

  13. Why I took so long was explained in my letter.

    Below is the relevant excerpt:

    “…I feel uncomfortable complaining of actions of others, of which we as a city, are guilty.

    Over the years, in labor negotiations, I have always argued for a more progressive pay structure. I have always argued that we should show restraint in our salary and benefit increases to our management and to our workers who are paid at a management pay level, in order to be fair and more generous to our other workers and, in particular, those who make the least.

    (In fact, fair wages for our lower paid worker would cost very, very little compared to the routine increases we have been giving to our management and highest paid workers).

    In short, in our own city pay structure, I have always advocated for a more progressive total compensation package.

    Unfortunately, I have always been in the minority. During the last two years, I have met with Sodexho workers. I have explained to them that I am very sympathetic and support their cause, but I did not have the majority support of the City Council to resolve this similar labor issue with the City. I told them that I would have to at least make attempts to get our own house in order before writing to you.

    While I have been arguing and fighting for a progressive pay structure for many years, Councilmember Lamar Heystek brought the living wage ordinance to the City Council. I was the only member who supported him.

    When our landscaping and janitorial contracts came up for renewal, Lamar and I insisted that the contracts contain a minimum $13.11 per hour wage. I was adamant about this.

    Lamar and I lost even this modest motion. But because we are now at least taking public action, rather than carrying on the fight behind closed doors during labor negotiations, I feel a little more comfortable writing to you in support of the Sodexho workers’ requests.”

  14. Why I took so long was explained in my letter.

    Below is the relevant excerpt:

    “…I feel uncomfortable complaining of actions of others, of which we as a city, are guilty.

    Over the years, in labor negotiations, I have always argued for a more progressive pay structure. I have always argued that we should show restraint in our salary and benefit increases to our management and to our workers who are paid at a management pay level, in order to be fair and more generous to our other workers and, in particular, those who make the least.

    (In fact, fair wages for our lower paid worker would cost very, very little compared to the routine increases we have been giving to our management and highest paid workers).

    In short, in our own city pay structure, I have always advocated for a more progressive total compensation package.

    Unfortunately, I have always been in the minority. During the last two years, I have met with Sodexho workers. I have explained to them that I am very sympathetic and support their cause, but I did not have the majority support of the City Council to resolve this similar labor issue with the City. I told them that I would have to at least make attempts to get our own house in order before writing to you.

    While I have been arguing and fighting for a progressive pay structure for many years, Councilmember Lamar Heystek brought the living wage ordinance to the City Council. I was the only member who supported him.

    When our landscaping and janitorial contracts came up for renewal, Lamar and I insisted that the contracts contain a minimum $13.11 per hour wage. I was adamant about this.

    Lamar and I lost even this modest motion. But because we are now at least taking public action, rather than carrying on the fight behind closed doors during labor negotiations, I feel a little more comfortable writing to you in support of the Sodexho workers’ requests.”

  15. Why I took so long was explained in my letter.

    Below is the relevant excerpt:

    “…I feel uncomfortable complaining of actions of others, of which we as a city, are guilty.

    Over the years, in labor negotiations, I have always argued for a more progressive pay structure. I have always argued that we should show restraint in our salary and benefit increases to our management and to our workers who are paid at a management pay level, in order to be fair and more generous to our other workers and, in particular, those who make the least.

    (In fact, fair wages for our lower paid worker would cost very, very little compared to the routine increases we have been giving to our management and highest paid workers).

    In short, in our own city pay structure, I have always advocated for a more progressive total compensation package.

    Unfortunately, I have always been in the minority. During the last two years, I have met with Sodexho workers. I have explained to them that I am very sympathetic and support their cause, but I did not have the majority support of the City Council to resolve this similar labor issue with the City. I told them that I would have to at least make attempts to get our own house in order before writing to you.

    While I have been arguing and fighting for a progressive pay structure for many years, Councilmember Lamar Heystek brought the living wage ordinance to the City Council. I was the only member who supported him.

    When our landscaping and janitorial contracts came up for renewal, Lamar and I insisted that the contracts contain a minimum $13.11 per hour wage. I was adamant about this.

    Lamar and I lost even this modest motion. But because we are now at least taking public action, rather than carrying on the fight behind closed doors during labor negotiations, I feel a little more comfortable writing to you in support of the Sodexho workers’ requests.”

  16. Why I took so long was explained in my letter.

    Below is the relevant excerpt:

    “…I feel uncomfortable complaining of actions of others, of which we as a city, are guilty.

    Over the years, in labor negotiations, I have always argued for a more progressive pay structure. I have always argued that we should show restraint in our salary and benefit increases to our management and to our workers who are paid at a management pay level, in order to be fair and more generous to our other workers and, in particular, those who make the least.

    (In fact, fair wages for our lower paid worker would cost very, very little compared to the routine increases we have been giving to our management and highest paid workers).

    In short, in our own city pay structure, I have always advocated for a more progressive total compensation package.

    Unfortunately, I have always been in the minority. During the last two years, I have met with Sodexho workers. I have explained to them that I am very sympathetic and support their cause, but I did not have the majority support of the City Council to resolve this similar labor issue with the City. I told them that I would have to at least make attempts to get our own house in order before writing to you.

    While I have been arguing and fighting for a progressive pay structure for many years, Councilmember Lamar Heystek brought the living wage ordinance to the City Council. I was the only member who supported him.

    When our landscaping and janitorial contracts came up for renewal, Lamar and I insisted that the contracts contain a minimum $13.11 per hour wage. I was adamant about this.

    Lamar and I lost even this modest motion. But because we are now at least taking public action, rather than carrying on the fight behind closed doors during labor negotiations, I feel a little more comfortable writing to you in support of the Sodexho workers’ requests.”

  17. Good to see the Mayor come out in support. Perhaps it will shine some light on the faux progressives running for office.

    The insult to injury with this whole Sodexho thing is that food has become quite inedible. As an alumnus and long time employee I have experienced UCD go from innovative, inexpensive, and tasty (when the Coffee House was University – owned and student managed) to the worst food in the system, comparable to (yes, Sodexho provides institutional foods to both)airport and prison food. Even the corporate fast food (like Taco Bell and Carl’s) is much worse on campus than in town. (And one might find that concept difficult.)

    Oh they say that it’s still “student – run” but that’s like saying the local MacDonald’s and Starbucks are “student – run”. They are run on campus with the worst corporate objectives by people who have no say. Since the main reason university management went to outside sourcing was to save the money on wages and insurance, perhaps it’s time to go back to the previous system of University ownership.

  18. Good to see the Mayor come out in support. Perhaps it will shine some light on the faux progressives running for office.

    The insult to injury with this whole Sodexho thing is that food has become quite inedible. As an alumnus and long time employee I have experienced UCD go from innovative, inexpensive, and tasty (when the Coffee House was University – owned and student managed) to the worst food in the system, comparable to (yes, Sodexho provides institutional foods to both)airport and prison food. Even the corporate fast food (like Taco Bell and Carl’s) is much worse on campus than in town. (And one might find that concept difficult.)

    Oh they say that it’s still “student – run” but that’s like saying the local MacDonald’s and Starbucks are “student – run”. They are run on campus with the worst corporate objectives by people who have no say. Since the main reason university management went to outside sourcing was to save the money on wages and insurance, perhaps it’s time to go back to the previous system of University ownership.