Privatization Plan Defeated in NH

Source: Melissa Weinstein, AFSCME Now, May 30, 2018
What if you and your co-workers were forced to leave a job you loved, to which you’d dedicated your career, so that non-union private contractors could be hired for a fraction of the cost? More than 100 Nashua, New Hampshire, School District custodial workers had been facing that prospect for the past 2½ years. Until recently, that is.  Members of AFSCME Local 365 (AFSCME Council 93) finally won the battle against privatization of Nashua School Custodian services. Faced with the threat of politicians putting corporate interests before quality public services, members successfully mobilized to elect Nashua School Board members who understand the value and commitment of public service workers. Following that victory, the board voted 6-1 in late February to negotiate a new contract with AFSCME members, whose contract had expired in 2016. …


Nashua BOE rejects privatization plan
Source: Hannah Laclaire, The Telegraph, February 28, 2018 (Abstract)
The Nashua Board of Education has rejected privatization, ending two and a half years of discussion about the topic and protecting more than 100 union service-based jobs within the district. … Last fall, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire sided with the Nashua School District in an appeal from the union that the district committed an unfair labor practice by refusing to bargain with the Nashua Custodial/Janitorial Staff concerning the district’s plan to move toward privatization at the end of the term of the “collective bargaining agreement between the parties.” …

School board-custodian case moves close to Supreme Court
Source: Tina Forbes, The Telegraph, September 22, 2016 (Abstract)

The Nashua School District is one step closer to having its case considered by the New Hampshire Supreme Court after the state Public Employee Labor Relations Board denied the district’s request for a rehearing on its plan to privatize some of its custodial workforce. The labor board handed down its decision on Tuesday, more than a month after the school board voted to appeal the labor board’s initial decision in favor of the district’s custodians.

Hassan Hopes for ‘Fair Resolution’ As Nashua Custodians Fight For Jobs
Source: Jason Claffey, Nashua Patch, August 10, 2016

Gov. Maggie Hassan is hoping for a “fair resolution” for union custodians at Nashua schools as they fight to keep their jobs. In the fall, the Nashua Board of Education voted 7-1 to end its contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents about 100 custodians in Nashua. … Gov. Maggie Hassan on Tuesday released a statement on the dispute: “Nashua custodians help ensure (a) safe, clean learning environment. Hope all work in good faith to reach fair resolution.”

NH Labor Relations Board Sides with Nashua Custodians
Source: Tony Schinella, Nashua Patch, August 5, 2016

New Hampshire’s AFL-CIO is calling a decision by the state of New Hampshire’s Public Employee Labor Relations Board a “big win” for custodians in Nashua who were slated to be fired as the school district attempted to find ways to save money. The labor relations board issued a decision on Aug. 4, 2016, stating that the school district “improperly refused to bargain with the Union over the custodial personnel positions in violation of its bargaining obligations under” state law and now must “engage in bargaining with the full bargaining unit for a successor contract to the 2013-16 CBA without further delay.” That contact expired in June. … In a statement on its website, the NH AFL-CIO, the org that AFSCME Council 93, the Nashua custodians’ union is a member of, called the decision a victory for workers and organized labor in the state. …

Nashua custodians maintain jobs through summer as Labor Board processes claim
Source: Tina Forbes, Nashua Telegraph, June 1, 2016

With 30 days left on their contract, Nashua union custodial workers are likely to stay with the district through the summer as an unfair labor complaint against the district is still being processed by the Public Employee Labor Relations Board. Last fall, the Board of Education voted to explore hiring a private company to replace 101 union custodian positions, citing a need to achieve “substantial savings to the district’s operating budget.” …

Nashua mayor urges school board to reject privatization of custodians
Source: Kimberly Houghton, New Hampshire Union Leader, March 26, 2016

Mayor Jim Donchess expressed disapproval with the school board this week for considering outsourcing its cleaning service, a move that would leave 101 custodians without a job. … The school district issued a request-for-proposals for outside custodial work, and received four bids from companies interested in the job. For the first year of work, SJ Services quoted $2,696,454, Temco is offering $3,368,592, GCA is charging $2,931,058 and ABM is requesting $5,572,081. All four bids are lower than what the school district is currently paying its 101 custodians — about $6,178,000 for salaries, benefits, overtime, longevity, supplies and equipment. All four bids offered five years of quotes, which ranged in savings from $606,000 to $3,481,627 compared to existing custodial staff costs. …

Board gets estimate on privatizing at meeting
Source: Tina Forbes, The Nashua Telegraph, March 2, 2016

Even the most expensive outside contractor would save the school district more than $500,000 over the current custodial staff, according to an analysis of Nashua School District costs. All four of the companies that submitted bids to take over the school district’s custodial services proposed prices less than what the district pays its roughly 100 custodians in salaries and benefits – about $5.7 million. The district pays another $498,720 on overtime, supplies, equipment and longevity payments, according to data presented Monday by District Business Manager Dan Donovan. …

School officials decide to privatize custodial jobs
Source: Tina Forbes, Nashua Telegraph, December 30, 2015

After the Nashua School District voted to seek bids from private companies for jobs held by union employees, the community rallied to support the present workforce. They circulated multiple petitions, picketed school meetings and waged a popular write-in campaign with pro-union candidates. The Nashua School Board voted to explore privatization of 101 custodial jobs in September, kicking off a multi-stage process for receiving and vetting bids from private companies.

Nashua bargaining agreement to be reviewed
Source: Kimberly Houghton, New Hampshire Union-Leader, December 8, 2015

As the Board of Education continues to pursue privatizing the school district’s custodial work and placing 101 jobs in jeopardy, two aldermen say they will not support raises for any school employees while the custodians could lose their jobs. Last week, the aldermanic Budget Review Committee recommended rejecting a proposed bargaining agreement that would have provided new salary wages for 78 school secretaries.

New Nashua alderman: Stop privatization talks, start talking to custodial union
Source: Kimberly Houghton, Union Leader, November 15, 2015

Alderman-elect Ben Clemons suggested to school officials this week that they stop exploring privatization and instead begin negotiating with the district’s custodial union. On Thursday, the day the Board of Education appointed a committee to review proposals and qualifications to potentially hire a private cleaning crew, Clemons told the Board of Education that now is the time to stop discussions on privatization. … In an effort to save money, the Board of Education voted several weeks ago to terminate its contract with the custodial union, Local 365/Council 93 AFSCME, on June 30, 2016. Although 101 school district custodians may be without jobs next summer if the board hires a private firm for cleaning services, the local union still has some future options, according to James Durkin, legislative counsel for the group.

Union Activists: Give Laid-off Nashua School Custodians Their Jobs Back
Source: Jason Claffey, Nashua Patch, October 6, 2015

Union activists are demanding that Nashua school officials reverse its decision to fire 101 custodians. The Nashua Board of Education last month voted 7-1 to end its contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents the Nashua custodial workers. The board said they are looking to hire a private cleaning company instead. … The Nashua Labor Coalition balked at the move. Chairwoman Deb Howes said the board should have gathered more input from the community before making its decision.

Nashua custodians protest board of education privatization proposal
Source: Adam Sexton, WMUR, September 29, 2015

Union members in Nashua turned out in force Monday night to rally against the proposal to privatize the district’s custodial staff. On top of layoffs, more than 100 custodians are upset that the school board decided to proceed with the plan behind closed doors. The first that custodians learned of the proposal was when they received a written notice in their paycheck. … The Nashua Board of Education approved exploring the idea of laying off the district’s custodians earlier this month in a closed-door meeting with no notice.

Nashua Custodial Staff Could be Laid Off By School District
Source: Ted Siefer, New Hampshire Public Radio, September 28, 2015

Custodians in Nashua and their supporters are expected to hold a rally Monday evening ahead of a school board meeting to protest the board’s decision to end their union contract. … About 100 custodians could be out of a job at the end current school year if the district follows through with the decision.  That of course is a big concern for the workers and their union, AFSME Council 93 — but in the eyes of Jim Durkin, the union’s political affairs director, there’s another concern: who would replace the laid-off janitors. … Finances aside, Durkin insisted that officials need to seriously consider the risks of outsourcing labor, especially in schools. He points to several reported cases of misconduct by employees of a custodial contractor in the Massachusetts town of Chelmsford — including one who was arrested for stealing computers from a school.

Nashua school board votes to replace union custodians with private company, September 20, 2015

The city’s board of education has decided to hire a private company for custodial work starting in next July, a move expected to put more than 100 unionized custodians will be out of work. … The district is midway through a contract with the union, and the 101 positions will remain through June 30, 2016. The school board will issue a request for proposals from outside cleaning companies to assume custodial duties as of July 1, 2016

Unions react to school board decision
Source: Tina Forbes, The Nashua Telegraph, September 22, 2015

Union officials and Nashua teachers reacted Monday to the Nashua Board of Education’s surprise announcement last week it would not continue a contract with union representing more than 100 custodians’ at the end of the school year. Jim Durkin, communications director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees of Council 93, which includes AFSCME units in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont, said the union had no word from the school board prior to the vote on Wednesday. …