by Jon Melegrito | April 10, 2012
After a four-year battle to end the outsourcing of janitorial services at the University of California in Irvine (UCI), 94 custodial workers were officially classified last week as University employees and recognized as members of AFSCME Local 3299. These individuals have been working on campus as employees of ABLE, a private contractor, cleaning classrooms, recreation facilities, restrooms, offices and labs. ABLE is the largest privately-held building services provider in the U.S.
Their recognition as AFSCME members followed Local 3299 and UCI agreeing last year to end the outsourcing of all custodial duties on campus by this March. The agreement called for the University to hire 94 full-time custodians by mid-April 2012.
“I feel extremely happy for winning this victory that has taken us more than three years to achieve,” says Sylvia Yolanda Diaz, a custodian in the Facilities Management department. “We’re just glad to be part of AFSCME and enjoy the benefits that we never had before. But we still have more work to do, like fighting for a good contract.”
Adds Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger: “This is a historic moment for our union. It’s a culmination of joint efforts by workers and their families, students, community supporters and our members.”
In the past few years, AFSCME has helped eliminate outsourcing at most of the UC campuses, ensuring that the university is paying workers better wages and providing more affordable health care benefits – both of which come with direct university employment and union representation.