Credit: Willow Yang
Credit: Willow Yang

By Nancy Romo and Kristian Kim

In a recently published LA Times article, Performance First Building Services, a private company employed by UC Berkeley, has come under fire for exploiting subcontracted custodians. The Federal Department of Labor is currently investigating the company for various abuses of labor law, not least of which is employing individuals illegally under two different names to avoid paying them overtime. The same article indicates that while some Performance First workers employed at UC Berkeley say that they have never made more than $10 an hour, the university pays the contractor $20.97 an hour for a janitor.

This is particularly striking in light of the fact that one commonly proffered argument for outsourcing campus service work is financial sustainability. (Curiously, the lack of state funding for the University of California has not had any apparent impact on the financial sustainability of ongoing executive raises or ever-expanding administrative bloat.) The decision to outsource campus service work is not about finances so much as it is about priorities. And as both primary stakeholders and investors in this institution, students should have a say in how our fees are spent. And what a steadily increasing number of students have been saying over the past few months is that we don’t want our tuition funding the exploitation of the people who keep our campus running.

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[Source]: Daily Californian