University of California, San Diego


June 6, 2001


SUBJECT:  Information on a UCSD Custodial Contract

Because social justice and fairness are important values to the UCSD community, and recent events and allegations have arisen regarding the adherence to these values by a UCSD vendor, I would like to clarify the facts regarding our contract with Bergenson Property Services.

While most custodians at UCSD are campus employees, we supplement our custodial employees with contractor workers provided by other firms, one of which is Bergenson Property Services. Since the current contract with Bergenson ends soon, we will shortly request proposals from vendors for a new contract. At that time, we may decide to expand our current UCSD custodial staff without using contractors.

Currently, some employees of Bergenson are attempting to form a union, with the assistance of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2028. Consistent with past practices, the University respects workers' rights to be represented by unions, and therefore plans to remain neutral in the dispute between SEIU and Bergenson.

Following the termination of one of Bergenson's employees and allegations of unfair treatment and violations of applicable laws, SEIU also recently filed an unfair labor practices charge against Bergenson with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). A student group, Students for Economic Justice (SEJ) supports these efforts.

In response to whistleblower allegations raised against Bergenson in May, the University's internal audit department initiated a review of Bergenson's payroll and personnel practices to determine the company's compliance with California's minimum pay and U.S. immigration worker eligibility requirements. At the same time, the campus informed the Department of Justice about allegations against Bergenson pertaining to alleged immigration control violations. This notification was required to demonstrate the University's due diligence in light of these serious allegations. In addition, University representatives met with representatives of SEJ and a former Bergenson's employee to initiate a dialogue on these issues and to hear more about the charges filed with the NLRB.

Unlike most universities, UCSD has a set of principles for outsourcing university services that we now require all subcontractors to meet. These guidelines, adopted in 1998, are designed to ensure that contractor-employed workers are provided with conditions of employment that support a quality of life including fair treatment in regards to wages, health, and sick leave benefits. UCSD is committed to these principles and has made it clear to Bergenson and other subcontractors that University standards regarding fair wages and other working conditions must be met and will be enforced for all contracts commencing after the promulgation of these principles.

When the UCSD internal audit review is complete and more is known about these issues, the campus will take additional corrective action as needed.

                                                Steven W. Relyea
                                                Vice Chancellor -
                                                Business Affairs