UCLA’s Anderson School of Management boasts on its Web site of having created “entrepreneurial leaders,” and its student body of future executives and tycoons-to-be are dosed with cutting-edge capitalist theory at an annual cost to them of more than $11,000 per academic year.
But the school also can boast of an exhibit on how the other half lives, those who are “prosperity challenged.” The school is even doing its part to make sure there is an other half. Indeed, if Anderson had a course titled Penury 101, the main text could be the school’s own janitors’ contract.
Whereas unionized janitors elsewhere at UCLA earn from $8 an hour (for new hires) to $11.67, custodians at Anderson start at $5.75 and top out at $8 per hour, as employees of Diamond Contract Services of Pasadena. And this in service to a school with an annual budget of approximately $45 million, with an endowment listed as $47.5 million — one that was recently fattened with a $5 million gift from philanthropist Peter Mullin.
Almost all other UCLA custodians are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), says Bob Battle of union Local 3299. But when Anderson moved, in 1995, to its new north-campus digs — seven swank buildings arranged around a sunny courtyard — the school put custodial services out to bid for a five-year contract. The university staff, which had swept and scrubbed the old Anderson facility, lost out in the original bidding, then failed to submit a bid when the contract reopened this year, says an Anderson administrator.
But union janitors do want those jobs — and those higher wages — back. “We are trying to get the state Legislature to curtail UC’s contracting-out efforts,” says Battle. “They are trying to do this with laundry [services] and medical-records help, too.” As of January, he adds, the union also has hired on four new organizers.
Word of Anderson’s arrangements were a surprise even to the specialist from UCLA’s human-resources department who fielded questions from the Weekly. “It’s totally news to me,” said the labor-relations staffer.