By Mohsin Mirza
Manipulation and deception are words more often associated with politics than institutions of higher learning.
But over the last year, the University of California has repeatedly threatened to stick it to students if it doesn’t get its way inside the state capital. This tactic has been successfully used to extract more money from state taxpayers with little accountability for how it is spent. It’s allowed UC to protect the skyrocketing salaries and perks enjoyed by UCs growing ranks of executives at the expense of frontline student services and more access for qualified Californians. And most recently, it’s been directed at ensuring UC’s private contractors can continue to profit from growing the ranks of California’s MediCal-reliant working poor.
UC’s latest target, SB 376, would require private contractors doing business with UC to provide their employees the same pay as directly employed UC workers doing the same jobs.
The jobs affected would include custodial, parking, security, food service, building maintenance, landscaping and related occupations that are overwhelmingly performed by immigrants and people of color. But instead of hiring these people directly, UC contracts out the work to private firms paying rock bottom wages with few benefits. These firms then double or triple their actual labor costs when billing UC, producing enormous profits.
In fact, one such contractor now finds itself in the crosshairs of a federal Department of Labor investigation for cheating workers at UC Berkeley.
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[Source]: Los Angeles Daily News