Understanding Your Rights When Returning to Work

This week Stanford’s Athletics and LBRE departments and SLAC have ramped up operations after the state and counties lifted restrictions for various industries. Now more than 700 workers are on campus while more are preparing to return in the coming weeks. Union leaders are monitoring worksites to ensure that they are in compliance with the new health orders so that the membership and our community can stay safe while performing their jobs. There have been a few close calls of members coming into contact with self isolating individuals and reports of work sites slowly implementing the safety protocols but our leaders have been resolving those issues as they come up.

During this time it is important to remember that all of your union rights are still intact – all provisions of the contract apply and all benefits are still available for your use.


COVID19 – know rights/benefits – English

New Shelter In Place Orders for the Bay Area – What does that mean for our membership?

I doubt anyone would have thought that our campuses would have been near empty and over half of us sheltering in our homes earlier this year. But here we are. Yesterday, all six Bay Area counties – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara – extended and enhanced their restrictions to our Shelter In Place orders. Those new orders have a new date of May 3, 2020 unless otherwise extended. Most school districts are not expected to open for the rest of the academic year. That leaves the majority of us with lots of questions about what that means to us… who is deemed “essential” and who can do work from home?

We have over 650 bargaining unit members on both of our campuses. At Santa Clara University, the Facilities department has been limited to a skeleton crew. Members volunteered to work in order to protect their union brothers and sisters. Our last report has two Landscape Techs/Gardeners; 1 Electrician; 1 HVAC tech; 4 General Maintenance Mechanics; 1 Recycling specialist; and both Events workers on campus. Not everyone is on campus at once – workers are taking shifts on a rotating basis. As of March 23rd, 2020, Custodians experienced a limit to their normal work  as the majority of students are no longer on campus nor are the majority of faculty and staff. Santa Clara University has made the commitment to continue to pay workers at their full base salary until April 30, 2020. In mid April, the University plans to review this commitment and make any adjustments as needed. Union leaders are checking in with SCU management on a weekly basis or as needed to ensure the health and safety of all our members and community.

Bargaining unit members that work at Stanford University, its satellites, and SLAC are reporting varying experiences. Those that have been deemed “essential” and are required to work at their job site will receive a 10% premium for all hours worked. This premium has been negotiated to be in effect from March 17th – April 7th. Groups that have been labeled essential include: the School of Medicine; parts of School of Humanities and Sciences; EH&S; parts of LBRE; Residential Dining and Enterprises, and Operator Services Center (Business Affairs). Beyond these groups, certain members will be expected to periodically return to the job site to perform specific tasks or maintenance checks. Those BU work within SLAC, VP for the Arts, and Athletics. Others are either not working or are working from home.

The largest group that has been affected, by far, is those from the Dining and Hospitality side of R&DE. Almost 110 bargaining unit members received letters notifying them that their job assignment, schedules, and work location will change effective March 30, 2020. These members will be taking on a custodial position. This will increase their pay as they will be working out of their classification (check out 9.13.C in the SEIU L2007 and Stanford  cba). Over 50 BU had their hours cut but will receive pay continuance in order to make them 100% whole for their FTE status – only so long as Stanford makes the commitment to do so. If a worker refuses these changes, it is likely they will be placed on a seasonal layoff due to lack of work.

As of yesterday, March 31st, 2020 Stanford University has only made the commitment to continue to pay workers’ salaries until April 15th, 2020. Union leaders and Stanford’s Employee’s Labor Relations have been discussing the topic regularly. We will continue to hold these conversations in order to encourage Stanford to continue their pay commitment to the very people that keep the University, the research, and programs moving forward.

At the time this update is being written, there have been no changes to operations at either campus as a result of this new order. Please keep an eye out for updates in your emails.

[UPDATED April 9 2020] On April 7th, 2020 Alex Gurza, Stanford’s VP of Employee Labor Relations, made the commitment to union leaders that the University will continue to pay bargaining unit members their full wage through May 3rd, 2020. Those BU who have been given an alternate work assignment and turn down the work will not be eligible to receive this pay continuation.

We encourage you to mind the CDC guidelines.

If you are having issues getting the time you need to self isolate; take care of your children; or quarantine due to COVID19 please reach out to info@seiu2007.org. We will get you in touch with a union representative to assist.

Stay healthy and safe.

In solidarity.