Regents Policy 5402 aims to prohibit outsourcing, increase insourcing

Sunny Shen/Staff

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After UC system employee complaints on outsourcing, Regents Policy 5402 went into effect Feb. 15, giving the UC system a one-year timeline to terminate unnecessary contracts with external suppliers.

The policy, titled Regents Policy Generally Prohibiting Contracting for Services, went into effect after a three-month contract negotiation between UC system administration and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which first filed six complaints about outsourcing in November 2019. The policy will transition covered services such as cleaning, custodial, transportation and parking services as well as building maintenance from external employees to UC system employees.

“This policy prioritizes the use of UC system employees over contract workers to provide covered services whenever possible,” according to the policy. “Contracting for Covered Services should be used sparingly and treated as an option of last resort to address specified operational needs – not as a means to replace UC system employees with lower-wage contract workers.”

If the university finds that it is necessary to hire an external employer, the contract must include equivalent pay received by UC system employees for the same job.

The UC system administration has 12 months to terminate existing contracts for covered services that will then be insourced by UC system employees with the deadline Jan. 31, 2021. If a contract exists longer than the 12-month deadline, there must be negotiations for termination as soon as possible.

While the policy has only been in effect for less than two weeks, UC Office of the President spokesperson Andrew Gordon said in an email that the university and individual campuses are already working to begin implementation.

“As the campuses and medical centers are establishing their internal processes for implementation, they have begun to identify work that falls under the new policy and labor agreements, and are preparing to engage with contractors,” Gordon said in the email. “At the systemwide level, the University is continuing to familiarize campuses and medical centers with the guidelines, develop and refine supporting materials, and prepare to document the monitoring and reporting procedures.”

The relevant department will determine which covered services can be insourced based on a list of factors, including necessary equipment and skills needed to perform the service.

ASUC External Affairs Vice President Varsha Sarveshwar and UC Student Association Labor Relations Officer Josh Lewis acknowledged the policy’s efforts to address concerns about outsourcing but said more should be done to ensure fair treatment of UC system employees.

“I think it is hard to be satisfied with the policy. Largely codifying what was seen as a symbolic stance, 5402 makes much needed changes but doesn’t go far enough,” Lewis said in an email. “While 5402 eliminated one of the tactics that the UC uses to employ non-union workers, there needs to be an active effort from the UC to support union labor’s growth and ability to flourish and organize on campus.”

Contact Julie Madsen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @Julie_Madsen_.