Students Organizing for Change (SOC) is a UCD student group dedicated to promoting social and economic justice within their local community and abroad. Their focus is to organize the student body to build support for labor campaigns that are taken on, and garnering solidarity with a wide variety of community and student groups.
One of their current campaigns is focused on getting the student body to join in solidarity with food-service workers. Food-service workers in the UC Davis dining halls want: a living wage, more affordable health care, a forty-hour work week, third party complaint review, and union representation. On February 22, 2007, a resolution in support of SOC and the food-service workers was passed by ASUCD. Following multiple events to have the workers become UC employees, a meeting was held this summer between the workers, their supporters, and the administration. However, the UC Davis administration has yet to commit to the demands of contracted-out workers to become university employees and so the campaign continues. UC Davis is the last facility in the entire UC system (10 Universities and 5 Medical Centers) to end the outsourcing of food-service workers.
According to a some employees of Sodexho, becoming UC employees has decreased the amount of free food they receive, lost them their book and tuition support, and given them a less convenient bi-weekly paycheck system (instead of a weekly one). They also have to pay union dues whether the union properly represents their views or not.
As of August 2007, Students Organizing for Change no longer affiliates itself with AFSCME, the union responsible for representing dining hall workers in the UC system. Students continue to work on their labor rights campaign without the help of the union, but do not anticipate the rise of any conflict from this change. SOC hopes to work closely with dining hall employees and support them in their struggle for recognition on the Davis Campus, and intends to coordinate with any organization that shares these goals, including AFSCME.
January 16th @ 6pm:
First Labor Teach-In for the winter quarter, located in Olson 206.
Learn about the workers rights campaign and find out how you can help!
ASUCD Senate Meeting
ASUCD Senate meeting
February 22, 2007. A resolution supported by SOC was passed 10-1-1.
Sodexho Workers Rally for Justice
Thursday, March 1, 2007
11:00 assembled at MU quad
11:30 began marching to Mrak Hall
11:45 rallied in front of Mrak Hall
Meeting with Vice Chancellor Shimek
The University failed to meet the demands of contracted-out workers. Actions will continue.
Cesar Chavez March
Saturday, March 31, 2007
A SOC contingent participated in the march to recognize the continued struggle of farmworkers in their fight for labor rights.
Spring Worker Teach-In
Thursday April 12, 2007.
The meeting was at Olson 106 at 6 o'clock pm. Short video on worker justice on college campuses, worker testimonies, current state of the fight, and what YOU can do to get involved.
Picnic Day Events
April 14, 2007
Rally at Chancellor's Ice Cream Social (at his house)
UCD May 1, 2007: Day of Action. May Day (May 1st) 2007 was the biggest protest in Davis recent history. The community demanded very clearly - UC Jobs! Twenty-four people, including members of SOC, were arrested for civil disobedience when they blocked the intersection of La Rue and Russell and refused to leave. Marchers later forced a meeting with UCD administrators, who promised to meet with SOC to resolve the issue in the next week. However, the UCD administrators failed to uphold this promise.
Those who were arrested later complained that they were being prosecuted and sought legal remedy by trying to prove there was a conspiracy by the Administration, University Police, Davis Police and District Attorney. Apparently they expected to be arrested, but not to be charged.
Chancellor's Brown Bag Crashed
May 3, 2007. The Chancellor's Brown Bag meeting was crashed by protesters. Though these quarterly meetings are supposedly designed to facilitate communication between the chancellor and the campus proceeding, the chancellor canceled the meeting rather than dialogue with the protesters. An alternate analysis of what happened is that the protesters would not allow the meeting to proceed, and the meeting needed to be canceled as a result. Chancellor Vanderhoef later put out a statement of the remarks he intended to make, had he been allowed to speak.
Sit-in at Mrak
May 23, 2007. After the university administration's repeated failures to uphold its promise of a meeting with organizers, protesters forced a meeting by taking over Mrak Hall. Fifteen community members, including UCD workers, undergraduate students, graduate students, alums, and local labor leaders, were arrested after taking over the second floor conference room and staging a sit-in in the first floor lobby. A joint protest outside the building kept the pressure high.
Meeting with Chancellor Vanderhoef
June 5, 2007. For the first time, Chancellor Vanderhoef met with students and workers about this campaign. However, Vanderhoef declined to meet the demands of contracted-out workers to become university employees, with affordable healthcare and union representation. Furthermore, the UCD student newspaper, the California Aggie failed to report on the meeting, claiming it was "not newsworthy". This left the reporting up to The People's Vanguard of Davis (article here) and the UC Jobs Now! Editorial Board, which inserted a report into June 6th's Aggie. Actions for workers' rights will continue.
February 26, 2007 (Aggie): Sodexho student food workers seek benefits, status of UC employees
March 1, 2007 (CBS13): UC Davis Workers Rally Up
March 1, 2007 (YouTube): UC Davis Supports Workers #2
March 2, 2007 (Aggie): University Promises to Meet with Food Workers
April 16, 2007 (Aggie): Food Workers March on Vanderhoefs House on Picnic Day
May 8, 2007 (Aggie): Food-service demonstrators travel to Reno to publicize desire for UC employment and several letters to the editor
May 8, 2007 (Aggie): Guest Opinion by Josh Savala in which he makes the statement "If you want us to stop our occasional actions, then the university must stop its everyday marginalization of workers on campus. If it does not, our actions will further escalate until we accomplish our goal."
May 23, 2007 (The Daily Bruin, UCLA's newspaper): UC Davis must value its workers. Outsourcing services instead of employing UC workers is wrong and irresponsible.
May 25, 2007 (Aggie): "Food-workers protest at Chancellor Vanderhoef's house" - candlelight vigil Wednesday night - article not available online
August 30, 2007 (Aggie): UC Davis reaches agreement with Sodexho; Food workers to receive increased wages, benefits — this article erroneously states that the May 1st defendants pleaded guilty at their August 29th court date, when in fact they pleaded not-guilty.
Viva la Revolucion!
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2007-03-01 18:40:57 I heard them starting the rally, I was a bit busy so I couldn't check it out, how did it go? —DavidPoole
2007-03-01 21:03:26 it was awesome! some of the workers got to meet with the chancellor at an unplanned discussion in the silo!! proof that rallies such as these have an impact. —AlexandraKollantai
A late reply, however is that an impact, or just simply being noticed? or are those the same, I do not know. In any case, recent demonstrations have been quite amusing and have seemingly fulfilled many objectives. ~DavidPoole
The union stands to collect 1.5% of 500 food workers pay monthly even if they don't join. That works out to about $17,500 per month or $210,000 per year in addition to the money that they already collect from the SX and EX collective bargaining groups.
-this is a bit incorrect. If the the University brings the workers in house, all employees would have 1.5% of their pay taken out, but due to California state law. If the worker does not fill out a membership card for the union, they pay 1.5% into Fair Share, not the union. If they do fill out a membership card, then the money goes into the union. It is done like this because even when people do not fill out the membership card, they are still represented by the union when they have problems. But emphasis on this aspect misrecognizes the fight to become university employees for a strictly economic motive and (intentionally) forgets the social aspect. It is also the feeling of being part of the university, of having collective bargaining rights, job security, etc that is lost in the strictly economic motive argument.
2007-09-05 01:44:11 one student's response to UCD-Sodexho "agreement" and Richard Proctor's "coverage" of it in the California Aggie, Aug. 30, 2007
I was taken aback upon reading your misleading article, "UC Davis reaches agreement with Sodexho," in the California Aggie last Thursday. As a student who has been fighting for the UC employment of our dining hall workers, I was disturbed by the way the article seemed to support the actions of the UCD administration without questioning all of the details. The article fails to address many of the most important issues in Sodexho workers' continued struggle for UC employment. Wages and benefits are only a small part of what workers are asking for, and without a union contract, even these cannot be protected or guaranteed. This "agreement" is not yet in writing and has not been signed by either the UCD administration or Sodexho, but even if it is implemented, there is no guarantee that the wages of still contracted- out on-campus food service would rise at the same rate as those of UC employees. Furthermore, this "agreement" leaves the health care issue up in the air; it states that "Sodexho will augment its existing medical benefits plan by increasing the employer contribution level, effective January 1," but goes on to say, "the specific employer contribution will be determined by Sodexho." Sodexho has not yet implemented the across the board 2% wage increase it promised earlier this year, so can we really expect it follow through, let alone provide free vision and dental coverage as the UC does? I don't.
There are many problems that anything less than UC employment will not solve. Sodexho employees, many of whom have been on-campus food-service workers for years if not decades, are denied fair wages and just wage increases, affordable healthcare, comprehensive retirement/pension plans, a union contract, job security, paid vacations, a third-party and impartial complaint review board, full time 40 hour jobs, accident and life insurance plans, harassment protection, free uniforms, fair workloads, seniority rights, shift differentials, education and training leave, and a voice on the job. This "agreement" is nothing more than a band-aid solution to a gaping wound that only UC employment will solve. UC employment is more than just a wage increase; it is respect. There is a great deal of honor that is involved with working for the University of California. This school is distinguished in many ways and garners respect from all corners of the globe. How can we ask people to work on our campus, but deny them the honor that comes with the territory? It is disappointing to see that the UCD administration does not value the people who work on its' campus enough to give them respectable UC jobs. The food service workers at the Sacramento Med Center have UC employment, and I think it is only right that our dining hall workers receive the same honor and respect. With that respect will come solutions to the many problems these workers face today.
Furthermore, I am personally concerned with UCD's continued investment in private interests over those of students and the community. This "agreement" claims that "future decisions will be guided by university principles," but where were the Principles of Community in the consideration of this decision? Since the campaign to end contracting-out began on March 1st, UCD and Sodexho has continuously ignored the demands of workers, students, faculty, politicians, union leaders and the Davis community for just employment on UC campuses. This "agreement" is no exception; no workers, students, or union representatives were involved in its drafting, which has been denounced by State Assemblywoman Lois Wolk (D-Davis) as a violation of "good faith" between the University and Sodexho employees. The administration of UC Davis has shown a great disrespect towards students and community members through this action. If the administration does not value the students it is meant to benefit or the workers who spend their days on campus serving the university community, perhaps it should clarify the principles to which it refers. Chancellor Vanderhoef has continuously failed to abide by the Principles of Community he is obligated to respect, and has failed to engage in public discussion of the issue, even in his Brown Bag Luncheon last quarter when he walked out of his own meeting. The fundamental issue is that the University of California is a public institution paid for by Californians, including those affected by UCD's cutthroat labor practices, and there is no room for a private multinational corporation capitalizing off of student fees and poverty wages on UC Davis campus. All profits made on-campus should be used to justly serve the local community instead of being appropriated by private corporations, and anything less violates the university's very own Principles of Community. Sodexho earns a 2% profit from our campus. The number sounds small, but when 2% of the money spent on campus is funneled, as sheer profit, into the pockets of men who don't have any affiliations to our campus, it becomes clear that millions of dollars are lost that could be spent on wage increases and the like. As a student I feel deeply disrespected by the administration for assuming that I don't care about my fellow community members or wouldn't realize that the administration cared more about corporations than communities.
However, as much as I am disturbed by the administration, I am further alarmed at the Aggie's coverage of the court hearings for those arrested during the May 1st protest here in Davis. Speaking on behalf of the 24 arrested, of which I am one, we are appalled that you published an outright lie, stating that we "pleaded guilty" in court on August 29th when in fact we all plead not guilty! For this mistake to be printed in our newspaper is an affront to good reporting, good editing, and an affront to those who stood in court to secure rights for future protestors. We maintain our right to freedom of speech and assembly and are committed to fighting the charges until we receive the just outcome. A type such as this would never be acceptable in a professional newspaper, and I am concerned that you were either unable to edit your own article, or simply chose not to. I am not sure who you spoke to, or how you came to the conclusion that we plead guilty, but I expect a higher quality of reporting from the Aggie. We demand a public apology for this mistake and expect that all future coverage to be truthful. Anything less is unacceptable.
We would like to let the public know that the "agreement" that UC Davis has "reached" with Sodexho is entirely inadequate and fails to address many of the issues that Sodexho workers face every day. I hope that in the future, this newspaper will provide the students and university community members that read it with honest reporting, rather than information funneled to it by the UCD administration. We demand recognition for our dining hall workers and we will not stop fighting until all on-campus contracted-out workers receive UC Jobs NOW!!!
—posted by mhayashi