Teamsters Shed Light on Dark Side of Merced 2020 Project

Teamsters 2010 members handed out about 400 leaflets and talked to dozens of students and residents heading into the Phase II opening of the UC Merced 2020 Project. The leaflet “congratulates” campus administration for selling out the Merced community.

The 2020 Project portion of UC Merced campus is a public-private partnership, which is a fancy way of saying that good, union jobs maintaining the buildings and grounds have been subcontracted out by the developer.

Here’s how the UC Merced 2020 Project has sold out Merced residents and businesses:

  • Committed the UC and community to an expensive and long-term project – 39 years to be exact – without much flexibility.
  • Outsources skilled trades jobs that could and should be done by UC Merced employees.
  • Denies Merced residents access to Union jobs with living wages and benefits to maintain the new buildings.
  • Invests in a Canadian developer with a shady past.

Deposits American dollars into the Canadian economy.

Most people we met were not aware that the Merced 2020 project had so many conditions, such as the contractor’s ability to outsource repair and maintenance of the buildings instead of it being done by UC Skilled Trades employees. Many assumed that the campus expansion would bring jobs and income to local residents and the community. The public-private partnership says only that the Canadian developer and U.S.-based contractor will make their best efforts to hire locally.

“It was shocking to see how many members of the campus community were not aware of the true nature of the [public-private partnership] 2020 project,” said Jeffrey Slayter, Teamsters 2010 Skilled Trades Chief Steward at UC Merced.

The leaflet handed out also included a chart showing how retiring Chancellor Dorothy Leland’s salary nearly tripled from 2011-2017.

“Students didn’t know that was how much Chancellor Leland was earning,” said Jose Fuentes, Teamsters 2010 Union Representative for Skilled Trades workers at UC Merced. “They immediately related that to increased tuition and fees.”