End workplace harassment at Stanford

Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President, Stanford University; Persis Drell, Provost, Stanford University

Subcontracted workers at Stanford have endured workplace harassment for years. The letter copied below was written by these service workers and sent to Stanford and UG2* administrators on April 13 -- there has been no response to the concerns raised. Please sign this petition to stand in solidarity with workers and tell Stanford that they cannot continue to ignore this pattern of harassment. The original Spanish text is available here.

* UG2 is an intermediary Stanford hires for custodial services that directly employs the authors of this petition


We the day and night shift janitors are tired of enduring workplace harassment from the supervisors, especially during a global pandemic.

This harassment includes:

  • Unreasonable, excessive work assignments
  • Unequal distribution of work areas
  • Lying and discrediting janitors to keep their power
  • Discriminating against and intimidating janitors
  • Sexual harassment
  • Retaliation

In response to our grievances, the company, through messaging from the supervisors and human resources, has ignored our calls for justice and the problem gets worse each and every day.

This harassment threatens the mental health of workers who already face overwhelming stress. More alarmingly, the supervisors’ actions put us at risk of contracting COVID and other illnesses — amid an ongoing pandemic, no less. Already, the excess work has seriously impacted the physical health of affected workers.

In a meeting between the union, UG2, and Stanford, where the union stewards were present, the union demanded that management be changed. The owner of UG2 responded that the management of UG2 at Stanford would be given an opportunity to change and if the behavior continued they would take action.

It has been three years since that meeting. Instead of improving, the treatment of workers by supervisors has only gotten worse.

Petition by
Arushi Gupta
Palo Alto, California

To: Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President, Stanford University; Persis Drell, Provost, Stanford University
From: [Your Name]

Due to the harassment described above, we UG2 workers and our allies demand first and foremost:
- The removal of upper management of UG2 at Stanford — especially Manager of Operations, Victor Hugo Cuevas — and the removal of supervisors Javier Ramirez and Citlali Bracamontes
- The reinstatement of janitors who have been unfairly suspended from work or who have been removed from their work areas
- The strict enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy for workplace harassment of any kind

Additionally, we demand:
- More training and higher job requirements for incoming supervisors
- A review of all of the work areas by the union, UG2, and the stewards to analyze where there might be unreasonable, excessive work assignments
- An end to nepotism and enforcement of a policy that prevents relatives from working together in the same work area
- Robust support for growing the “Promotora” program at Stanford
- A system of communication for UG2 workers to report harassment directly to Stanford

Our asks and demands are in service of our goal to provide the best service to the students and staff at Stanford. If UG2 can not complete these demands, we call on Stanford to stop contracting their janitorial services through UG2, and not renew their contract when it expires.

We ask for a written plan from UG2 in one week detailing how and when they will complete our demands.

Sincerely,

The union stewards, the day and night shift janitors at Stanford, and our allies