Tag Archives: California

Student Transportation Inc. Adds $3.7 Million Contract in California

Source: School Bus Fleet, March 9, 2016

Student Transportation of America (STA) has won a new contract to provide transportation services to the Morongo Unified School District beginning Aug. 1. The 1,400-square-mile district is located in the southernmost part of the Mojave Desert, between Joshua Tree National Park and the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base. The five-year contract, valued at $3.7 million annually, includes renewal options and a public-private partnership for the use of two district-owned facilities, along with the district providing the fuel. … Company officials said that STA was able to suggest various cost-saving measures to Morongo Unified School District, including streamlining the roles in staffing and converting to more cost-efficient vehicles for some of the district’s rural routes, which often have lower ridership numbers.

Janitors and security guards are paid 20% less when they’re contractors, report says

Source: Shan Li, Los Angeles Times, March 9, 2016

A boom in companies trying to cut costs by contracting out janitorial and security jobs has led to large pay disparities between workers doing the same jobs, according to a UC Berkeley report. Janitors who work for California contractors earn on average $10.31 an hour, or 20% less than janitors who work directly for a company that uses their services, according to the report, prepared by the university’s Center for Labor Research and Education and released Tuesday. … Many contractors, especially smaller companies, also do not pay overtime or even minimum wage, Hinkley said. They often misclassify workers as independent contractors, thereby avoiding making Social Security contributions and sometimes even pocketing taxes that would normally be deducted from paychecks. … When workers want to complain, an often complicated layer of contractors and subcontractors obscures who is responsible for their paycheck and working conditions, Narro said. Many contractors who are hired to supply janitors or security guards will in turn outsource those jobs to subcontractors, which can be “fly by night” operations that work with no contracts, he said.

OC Social Service Providers Win New Guarantee: Temps Will NOT Do Their Jobs

Source: AFSCME Council 36

When the Orange County Social Service Agency threatened Eligibility Workers in AFSCME Local 2076 with outsourcing plans to hire temporary “customer service” representatives, Local 2076 President Raymond Hartwell and other Union leaders delivered a clear message back: NO WAY! The County’s threats come amid a longstanding Eligibility Worker staffing shortage and untenable caseloads. The staffing crisis has meant that recipients of food stamps, “Covered California” health benefits, and other critical social services have not been getting the assistance they need, when they need it. … According to Management’s own data, Eligibility Worker staffing has been at 55 percent of the required level. Bilingual workers serving non-native English speakers and immigrants are in even shorter supply. In December alone, the County Call Center received over 66,000 calls from people needing help – and there were less than 200 Eligibility Technicians assigned to serve them. … In response to the Union’s pushback and political pressure, the County has responded favorably so far. They placed a hold on the temp hiring contract until the union could meet with management to resolve our concerns. Then, for the first time, they agreed in writing that no temps contracted by the County under the deal before the County Board would be used to do any work performed by our members.

I Was a Super Bowl Concession Worker

Source: Gabriel Thompson, Slate, February 9, 2016

The smart stadium was supposed to be an economic boon. Back in 2010, when residents of Santa Clara, a small city of 120,000 just northwest of San Jose, voted to support its construction, boosters promised it would create “thousands of desperately needed new jobs,” providing a lifeline to the very people “bearing the brunt of the recession.” Pro-stadium signs reading “Yes on Jobs!” blanketed the city, part of a campaign paid for by the 49ers, who plowed more than $4 million into the effort. … The stadium has indeed provided a few thousand jobs—about 4,500 people work each event, serving hot dogs, directing traffic, mopping up spilled beer, and securing the grounds. … Many of the stadium workers I spoke with told me they earn $11 or $12 an hour. That would be about $1,900 a month if it were full-time work, but it’s not. … That’s what the NFL usually does: Twenty-nine of the 31 NFL stadiums have received public funds. The stadium for the Indianapolis Colts was made possible with a $620 million subsidy; the Minnesota Vikings are set to receive $678 million from taxpayers to help build their new one. St. Louis, which recently lost the Rams to Los Angeles, built the team a stadium in 1995 with $280 million in taxpayer money—and will be paying off the debt on those bonds, team or not, through at least 2021.

Judith Grant Long, an associate professor of sport management at the University of Michigan, studied all 31 NFL stadiums in use during the 2010 season, and calculated that taxpayers shelled out an average of $374 million each. The 49ers got a good deal with Levi’s Stadium, too. Santa Clara used $114 million in public funds, and, with the help of Goldman Sachs, created a public authority that borrowed $679 million to fund the remainder of the construction, all of which would be paid off with revenue generated by the stadium over the next 25 years. Or so the authority—whose board comprises Santa Clara’s mayor and city council—claimed. The original plan called for the 49ers and the NFL to chip in another $493 million, but during lengthy negotiations between the stadium authority and the team, that figure was later cut nearly in half. In the end, Goldman Sachs earned $75 million in interest and fees and the 49ers’ net worth jumped 69 percent in one year, to $2.7 billion.

Op-Ed: The coastline belongs to all Californians—but maybe not for long

Source: Steve Blank, Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2016

Now the commissioners in the sway of developers want to remove Lester, but he isn’t giving up without a fight. He believes the public trust is at stake. The environmental community, complacent during the last five years, appears ready to rally to his defense at the commission’s public hearing Feb. 10 in Morro Bay. More than environmentalists and regulatory wonks should be angry about this move against Lester. We should all take an interest. The coast belongs to all Californians, and it is an irreplaceable asset. The commission that protects it should not be hijacked for profit. … Do we want to look at miles of beaches behind locked gates and wall-to-wall condos and ask, “Did he sell out 40 million Californians for a few rich developers?” Or, do we want to share with our grandchildren the same open vistas and glorious beaches that we have enjoyed and say, “Jerry Brown left all of us a coastline like no other in the world”?

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Beachfront Access
Source: New York Times, Room for Debate, June 23, 2014

The owner of a popular surf beach in California has closed it to the public — setting off waves of outrage and a legal battle. Though the rules of public beach access differ from state to state, the “public trust doctrine” ensures that the water and the part of the beach covered by high tide belong to all. But that can be rendered moot when property owners close off access to the public. Is privatization of beaches appropriate? Should those with beachfront homes have to open their land to all comers?

Debaters include:
An American Right and Environmental Necessity
Andrew W. Kahrl, historian
Broader public access to beaches will put us in a better position to manage the effects of climate change.

Allow the Free Market to Protect the Environment
Reed Watson, Property and Environment Research Center
People tend to take care of the things they own and neglect the things they don’t.

Private Property Should Not Be Confiscated
J. David Breemer, Pacific Legal Foundation
Privatization is not a threat. The threat is a government that can take over private property without compensating the owners.

Assets in Which We’ve All Invested
Una J. M. Glass, Coastwalk California
As Americans, we expect to see benefits from the taxes we pay. Much of the nation’s coastlines have been shaped by federal, state and local dollars.

San Bernardino bankruptcy: Trash collection outsourcing finalized

Source: Ryan Hagen, San Bernardino Sun, January 25, 2016

A major component of the city’s bankruptcy exit plan — which comes with guaranteed revenue of nearly $18 million by April 2017 — received unanimous City Council approval Monday with the final approval of a contract to outsource trash collection and related services to Burrtec. … The 58 full-time employees who work in those positions will be offered full-time employment (with six others remaining city employees to manage the contract and provide field inspection), said another of the city’s consultants, Teri Cable of Management Partners.

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San Bernardino outsources trash pickup with Burrtec
Source: Ryan Hagen, San Bernardino Sun, November 17, 2015

After years of uncertainty going back at least to the first month of bankruptcy, when the city started moving forward with outsourcing its refuse services, 100 workers learned Monday night who their new employer will be: Burrtec. … The company also pledged to keep all 72 existing full-time employees, move 28 part-time employees to full time, retain salary levels and benefits, and give employees a bonus of another $500,000 total (which would be $6,900 per full-time employee if split evenly). From the city’s perspective, the outsourcing move also means it won’t be responsible for $20 million in needed equipment replacements, according to an analysis by city staff and consultants. Customers will pay the same rates for now, though that’s not guaranteed in the future, said Andrew Belknap of consultant Management Partners, who recommended Burrtec. …

Costa Mesa opts to stick with ambulance system some had labeled ‘inefficient’

Source: Jordan Graham, Orange County Register, January 20, 2016

When someone has a medical emergency in Costa Mesa, three vehicles arrive on the scene: a fire truck, a city-owned ambulance and an ambulance from a private service. But no matter how significant the person’s injuries, no matter who gets there first, the patient always leaves in the Care Ambulance Service’s private vehicle, which is then followed to the hospital by the city’s patient-less ambulance. That system – which City Council members, firefighters and an independent city-hired analyst all have called inefficient – was close to being changed early Wednesday morning, until the council’s majority balked at the idea of turning over a portion of ambulance services to the public sector. … The report stated that the public-private system could bring in an extra $1 million to $1.6 million to the city in the form of “cost recovery” from ambulance rides.

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Based upon questionable savings Costa Mesa Council votes to Outsource two service areas
Source: Joe Hill, The Liberal OC, May 16, 2012

[T]he Costa Mesa City Council majority led by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer, voted to outsource two city services to private contractors. Those decisions will be prevented from implementation until the lawsuit, filed by the Costa Mesa City Employees Association–the union representing most of the affected city, is resolved. The council voted 4-1 to contract out street sweeping and jail services…..Based upon contractor and city estimates, the contracting out of street sweeping services will save about $88,000 a year along by contracting with Athens Services… Opponents of the outsourcing of jail services have raised concerns that the savings projected by the contractor, G4S Secure Solutions, are exaggerated and unrealistic.

Judge halts Costa Mesa layoffs
Source: Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2011
Costa Mesa City Council OKs First Proposals for Outsourcing
Source: Norberto Santana Jr., Voice of OC, September 21, 2011

Outsourced: City Council Votes To Privatize Costa Mesa Jobs
Source: BS Local Media, March 2, 2011

City Council members took the politically-unpopular step of approving a plan to outsource perhaps dozens of key city services in Costa Mesa in the hopes of trimming a mounting tide of red ink. Councilwoman Wendy Leece cast the only dissenting ballot in a 4-1 vote before midnight Tuesday that could mean graffiti removal, park and street maintenance, jail operations, 911 police dispatch calls, building inspection and the city’s print shop could be privatized, Councilman Jim Righeimer said….The city is facing a $1.4 million deficit for this fiscal year and a projected $15 million deficit for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, said City Manager Tom Hatch….

Local charter school king hit with felony

Source: Maureen Magee, San Diego Union Tribune, January 14, 2016

A former San Diego County superintendent who approved charter schools that later hired his consulting firm was arraigned Friday in San Diego Superior Court on one felony count of conflict of interest, according to the San Diego district attorney’s office. The allegation facing Steve Van Zant, who currently is superintendent of the Sausalito Marin City School District, dates to May 2010 while he was superintendent of the Mountain Empire Unified School District. … Van Zant, 53, has been a controversial figure among San Diego County educators. Long before he faced legal troubles, Van Zant stirred animosity among school districts for years as he brokered deals with charter schools to operate in their districts — often without providing the notice required by law. … A couple of years into his tenure at Mountain Empire, Van Zant and his wife, Ingrid, established EdHive, a consulting firm that offers administrative services and helps charters find districts to green-light their schools. … According to profiles of company officials posted on the LinkedIn professional networking website, EdHive has represented at least 27 charters in California. Among them are several charters approved by Mountain Empire during Van Zant’s tenure as superintendent. Charters that hired EdHive include Endeavour Academy, which was shut down last year after the San Diego Unified School District sued the charter and the Alpine Union School District, which authorized the campus to operate in a Clairemont church.

UC Berkeley Workers, Students Say University’s Subcontracted Campus Jobs Mean Poverty Wages

Source: Mario Vasquez, In These Times, December 10, 2015

Twenty-two student protesters were arrested on December 3 after staging a two-hour occupation of the central administration offices at the University of California, Berkeley. The protesters, 50 members of a campus-based organization called the Student Labor Committee, stormed California Hall, where school head Chancellor Nicholas Dirks is headquartered, and sat down in the office lobby demanding living wages and benefits for workers employed by private contractors on campus. The practice of outsourcing, mostly with workers from communities of colors in the Bay Area, is detrimental both to those workers and campus workers directly hired by the university, according to campaign advocates. AFSCME Local 3299, the system’s largest employee union, said in August that UC management currently holds contracts with “at least 45 private contractors employing thousands of subcontractors who perform the same work as career UC employees—such as custodians, security officers, parking attendants, and food service workers.”

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“Our tuition dollars fund racism and injustice”: California students protest university labor outsourcing
Source: Ben Norton, Salon, December 3, 2015

More than 50 students are staging a sit-in in the office of University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks. The protest, which was organized by the school’s Student Labor Committee (SLC), is calling for an end to university labor outsourcing and exploitation. Custodial workers and parking attendants at UC Berkeley are subcontracted to the companies Performance First Building Services, American Building Management (ABM), and LAZ Parking. One of these contractors, Performance First, is under federal investigation by the Department of Labor for alleged rights violations. In a report by the Los Angeles Times, subcontracted UC Berkeley workers said that, during sports events, they sometimes work 80- or 90-hour weeks and are denied overtime pay…..

UC Berkeley students arrested after sit-in over contract worker paySource: Kate Murphy, Contra Costa Times, December 3, 2015

tudents protesting the pay and treatment of subcontracted custodians and parking attendants — including some who work for a contractor under federal investigation — staged a sit-in Thursday at California Hall, home to the campus chancellor’s office. “A broad coalition of students demands that their tuition dollars no longer fund racism and injustice at the UC,” the Student Labor Committee, which organized the protest, said in a statement. The group maintains that the workers — who typically earn less than UC employees doing similar jobs — were “exclusively people of color.” A few dozen students chanted and danced in the lobby as AFSCME 3299 workers rallied outside.

Workers, students call for insourcing of all subcontracted workers on campus
Source: Melissa Wen, The Daily Californian, August 31, 2015

Several dozen students, workers and community members marched to various locations on campus and in the city Monday, delivering petitions calling for the insourcing of all subcontracted employees at UC Berkeley. The action was the result of organization among employees of ABM, Performance First Building Services and LAZ Parking — three companies that contract with the campus. The workers said that as subcontracted employees, they receive significantly less pay than UC workers performing equivalent work — a problem they hoped would be solved by being brought in as UC employees. … The group then went to the offices of UC Berkeley Parking and Transportation and Athletic Department administrators, in addition to seeking out Ali Mansour, who manages campus custodial workers. Their last stop was near International House, where a First Performance manager drove out to speak with them.

Demonstrators sing in California Hall to protest UC Berkeley’s use of contract workers
Source: Melissa Wen, Daily Californian, July 8, 2015

Students, workers demand community benefits agreement for Richmond Bay Campus Demonstrators performed a song and dance inside California Hall on Tuesday, calling out the administration for being “super cheap” and marking the start of a new campaign for the campus to create more union jobs instead of hiring contract workers. At about noon, a group of about a dozen students and workers combined gathered before the doors of Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ office, carrying a letter and a cake decorated with the phrase: “I don’t always pay fair wages, but when I do it’s in Berkeley and Richmond.” They sang an original song, based on the song “Super Freak,” with lyrics criticizing the administrators for treating workers unfairly…… The protest kicked off increased efforts against the university’s contracting out of services, a practice that has been criticized because contract workers often have fewer protections than UC workers. The university maintains, though, that hiring a mix of contract and UC workers allows “maximizing efficiency within resource constraints,” as UC Legislative Director Jason Murphy wrote in a letter to state legislators…. The UC contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union prohibits UC campuses from contracting out only because of the savings resulting from paying lower wages and benefits for services normally performed by AFSCME workers…..

University of California drops prison investments amid student demands

Source: Curtis Skinner, Reuters, December 18, 2016

The University of California system said on Friday it will drop its roughly $30 million worth of investments in private prison companies following demands from a black student group. The decision comes amid a wave of student protests against racism at college campuses across the country as well as the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement against the U.S. criminal justice system, which disproportionately impacts black people. … Klein said the amount invested was less than $30 million, a tiny fraction of the UC system’s $100 billion investment portfolio. Klein said she did not know exactly which private prison companies the system held shares in or exactly how much money was invested. The coalition, a California-wide student group, said the UC system had $25 million invested in Corrections Corporation of America and The Geo Group.