Category Archives: Custodial

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. …

SPS will no longer outsource custodial services

Source: Claudette Riley, Springfield News-Leader, November 18, 2015

Custodians who clean the buildings owned by Springfield Public Schools will once again be managed by district employees. For nearly two decades, Missouri’s largest district has contracted with a company — initially ServiceMaster and, since 2001, Aramark — to order its cleaning supplies and manage its custodial crews. That will change Feb. 1. Carol Embree, chief financial and operations officer, told the school board this week. … There are 178 custodians and five supervisors employed by the district, but they answer to Aramark employees. This fall, the district received written proposals from four companies including Aramark interested in providing the custodial oversight. Embree said a committee reviewed the district’s custodial needs and the proposals — which ranged from $426,000 to $659,000 a year — and concluded the work would be better done “in house.” Embree said outsourcing custodial management is fairly rare in Missouri. She checked with 20 other districts and only two contracted with a company to provide the oversight.

Tennessee’s Landlords Find Hidden Costs of Privatization

Source: Sam Stockard, The Memphis Daily News, November 12, 2015

Murfreesboro businessman Tom Hyde felt the sting of Tennessee’s privatization practices two years ago when a representative of Jones Lang Lasalle notified him he would have to pay the company a commission as part of his next lease agreement. … Tennessee’s contract with JLL for facilities management, which jumped from $1 million to $10 million to oversee about 10 percent of the state’s property, has come under the most criticism, especially as Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration studies more outsourcing. … Tennessee’s contract with JLL did not go through legislators on the Fiscal Review Committee but was vetted instead by the State Building Commission. It’s made up of Gov. Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, House Speaker Beth Harwell and constitutional officers. Sen. Bill Ketron, who co-chairs the Fiscal Review Committee, said it has “no knowledge of what communications were made between the state and landlords prior to the awarding of the contract.”


Fearful UTC workers question cost savings of outsourcing
Source: Andy Sher, Times Free Press, November 4, 2015

Her comments came as she and other University of Tennessee at Chattanooga workers, ranging from maintenance workers to facilities management engineers, described their commitment both to their jobs and the campus community during a fact-finding session hosted at the university by three Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga. About 60 UTC workers, students, community supporters and United Campus Workers officials showed up for the session, the second campus stop of a statewide tour by Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, and Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville. … Some two-thirds of state workers involved in facilities management under the Department of General Services lost their jobs when Chicago-based real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle took over. Haslam says the state saved $12.9 million over a two-year period, but critics note the governor’s administration and Jones Lang LaSalle touted even higher savings. Critics also question whether the cost comparisons are valid.

TN Senate Democrats holding outsourcing hearing at UTC on Tuesday
Source: Times Free Press, November 2, 2015

State Democratic lawmakers will bring their continuing series of fact-finding hearings on state privatization efforts to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Tuesday as they hold seek comments from campus employees, students and faculty on the effects of outsourcing additional state jobs. … Lawmakers will hear from the United Campus Workers, the Tennessee State Employees Association, UT Chattanooga College Democrats and Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM).

Tennessee workers protest any Haslam privatization plan
Source: Dave Boucher, The Tennessean, October 30, 2015

Roughly 45 people joined McDaniel in Nashville on Friday to protest any move by Gov. Bill Haslam to outsource state jobs on a broader scale. The protesters, organized by state higher education employee union United Campus Workers, delivered petitions with 6,368 signatures of Tennesseans who oppose any expanded outsourcing. … Right now about 10 percent of the state’s square footage is maintained by Chicago-based JLL. The administration and supporters argue the move helped the state avoid roughly $13 million in maintenance costs in two years, but opponents argue the state is gaming the numbers and any expansion of the program will mean cuts to wages and benefits for state employees.
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South Africa: UCT Signs Historic Agreement to Insource Services

Source: All Africa, October 29, 2015

The University of Cape Town (UCT) signed an historic agreement with the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) on Wednesday to insource six of its outsourced services. Cleaning of residences (Metro), cleaning of university buildings (Supercare), catering in student residences (C3), grounds and gardening services (Turfworks), campus protection services (G4S) and student and staff transport services (Sibanye) will now be insourced after the current (in brackets) lease agreements expire. This follows weeks of protests around student fee increases, which resulted in a 0% deal announced by President Jacob Zuma last Friday. UCT student also protested about unfair working conditions, pushing for the insourcing of these services. UCT vice chancellor Max Price and Nehawu chairperson Mzomhle Bixa said in a joint statement on Thursday that the services will be insourced as each of the contracts terminates.

One item completed on county privatization list

Source: Gary Pinnell, Highlands Today, October 28, 2015

Nineteen months after commissioners agreed to privatize 10 Highlands County functions, they’re still months away from completing the second item. The top-ten list that came out of the March 2, 2014 goal-setting workshop included transferring EMS to private ambulance companies, recycling, legal services, fleet maintenance, real estate surveying, Healthy Families and janitorial. Contracting with a company to clean county buildings is now off the table. … Handley doesn’t think privatizing the landfill will happen, though. … In a report to commissioners last week, County Administrator June Fisher said EMS revenues and expenditures have been reviewed. “We’re still waiting on a needs assessment,” Elwell said. The final report will disclose options for EMS and the volunteer fire departments to combine. “Maybe we could move toward fire-rescue, and have one crew instead of two, with cross-trained personnel.” … “I don’t think EMS will be privatized,” Richie said. … Commissioners un-privatized the county attorney. Ross Macbeth was a part-timer who ran a private practice and contracted with the county. But during one three-year period, he billed $1 million, and the commissioners saw a cost-saving opportunity. As of Oct. 1, Macbeth has moved into a county office, and hired a secretary and assistant attorney, both to be paid by the county. … County staff visited a county library in Sumter County that had been privatized. “The staff met them, and they said they would not recommend it. It’s a different situation, and the people they met with didn’t recommend it.”

Opinion: House cleaning in Chelmsford

Source: The Lowell Sun, October 20, 2015

Since the School Department privatized custodians in 2011, three other Aramark employees have been charged with stealing school, staff and students’ property, including computers, credit cards, and prescription medication. According to School Committee Chairman Al Thomas, Aramark’s contract expires on June 30, the end of the fiscal year. Thomas told The Sun the schools are looking at other options. … We see this as an opportunity for new School Superintendent Jay Lang to demonstrate the money-management skills for which he was known in Lowell. And that could include returning the task of cleaning — not cleaning out — its schools to town employees. We trust the town’s vetting process would preclude janitors from partaking in the type of illegal activity alleged here.


Another janitor arrested in theft at a Chelmsford school
Source: Alana Melanson, Lowell Sun, October 17, 2015

Another Aramark custodian at Chelmsford High School has been charged with theft after a month-long investigation into missing cafeteria funds, police said. … According to School Committee Chairman Al Thomas, another Aramark employee who allegedly acted as a lookout for Ramos was not charged but was also removed from the school. On Sept. 29, a school administrator reported to police that someone had been stealing money from the cafeteria cash drawer for several weeks, police said. Cafeteria staff place the cash drawer in a locked closet after every shift. There were several occasions where employees noticed the drawer was not balanced at the start of the morning shift.

Questions rise on outsourced janitorial work /Chelmsford leaders rethink move after school cost increases, thefts
Source: Alana Melanson, Lowell Sun, June 21, 2015

The School Department outsourced custodial services in 2011 on the projections that it would free up at least $200,000 each year of the three-year contract. Yet as costs rise, and with several instances of thefts involving workers hired by contractor Aramark, some school and town officials are questioning whether outsourcing was a wise decision. … Town Manager Paul Cohen said there have been numerous cleanliness complaints in the schools and instances where projects that were supposed to be completed during school vacations were not. There were also some delayed school openings during the winter because walkways were not cleared of snow in a timely manner. …. In July 2011, 26 union custodians [editor’s note: AFSCME Council 93] were paid a gross vacation buyout amount of $100,070, according to Town Accountant Darlene Lussier. Because this payout did not include compensation for sick-bank hours, 17 former custodians filed an unfair-labor-practice complaint. According to town records, $20,000 was disbursed to the custodians in October 2013 in a settlement….
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Workers unite to protest campus’s treatment of contract workers Wednesday

Source: Ericka Shin, The Daily Californian, October 14, 2015

About 3:30 p.m., protesters organized by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 — a union that represents UC workers — gathered, circulated a petition letter and circled around with picket signs to demand that the campus provide fair treatment for all workers. The crowd consisted of contract workers, union workers and students. Organizations involved in the protest included AFSCME Local 3299, Fight for $15 and Service Employees International Union. … On Wednesday, protesters expressed their dissatisfaction with the campus’s alleged unsafe working conditions and understaffing with chants of, “What do we want? Safe staffing. When do we want it? Now,” and “If we don’t get it, shut it down.”


Brown vetoes bill on UC employment wages, benefits
Source: Maxwell Jenkins-Goetz, The Daily Californian, October 12, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation Friday that sought to ensure benefit and wage fairness for the University of California’s contracted workers. While Brown acknowledged that state Senate Bill 376, which passed in September, was well intentioned and cautioned the UC system to provide transparent accounting of its relations with contracting companies, he said he was “not prepared to embrace” the provisions of the bill, which would have instituted new requirements for the university’s process of selecting contracting companies. … SB 376 would have ensured that for contracts exceeding $100,000 annually, the lowest bidder must provide a written statement that its employees will be compensated at rates comparable with those of workers employed directly by the UC system.

Business groups help bring down labor bills
Source: Allen Young, Sacramento Business Journal, October 12, 2015

After the dust settled Sunday on the final day of the year’s regular legislative session, business groups were quick to claim victory over a torrent of labor-backed bills. … The California Chamber of Commerce announced Monday that it helped bring down 18 of 19 “job killer” bills, or legislation that the organization targets as having the worst impact on private industry. …
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Audit reveals UL was over charged by catering company Sodexo

Source: KATC, October 5, 2015

UL is responding to new allegations that it may have overspent thousands of taxpayer dollars to a UL food service provider. According to a newly released legislative audit, UL was over charged nearly $5,500 for tailgating events by food service provider Sodexo, from October 10th, 2009 to November 7th, 2013.  During that time, the audit says Sodexo allegedly overcharged UL nine times.  However, both UL and Sodexo say they’re working to credit the university back that money.


Audit report: UL at Lafayette food services company catered parties for student union director for free
Source: Lanie Lee Cook, The Acadiana Advocate, October 5, 2015

An audit released on Monday revealed the company selling food services to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette overbilled the school on some occasions, provided free catering for non-university events involving a former school official and brokered unwritten meal deals with university employees in exchange for cleaning services and football tickets. The state Legislative Auditor’s findings come almost a year after university auditors discovered possible misappropriation of public funds in its dealings with Sodexo Management Inc. The school is now “reviewing its contractual relationship” with the company, according to a written response to the audit by UL-Lafayette President Joseph Savoie. … Sodexo also owes the university money for cleaning services, as the union’s housekeeping staff cleaned the student dining hall — which is under lease and operated by Sodexo — while on the university’s clock and in exchange for meal plans, according to the audit. Each employee who cleaned the dining hall received a meal a day from July 2009 to August 2014, costing Sodexo at least $33,213, yet part of Sodexo’s contract includes cleaning the facilities it leases.

CPS to lose more custodians later this month

Source: Lauren Fitz-Patrick, The Chicago Sun-Times, October 1, 2015

Another 61 privately employed custodians who work in Chicago Public Schools are about to lose their jobs cleaning schools, though the district says many of them will be hired back in other buildings. … Several hundred custodians have been laid off since the private company Aramark took over custodial management at CPS in 2014. The layoffs take effect Oct. 13 and the affected employees have been notified, according to their union, the Service Employees Union International Local 1. … CPS anticipates that more than half of the 61 will be immediately offered jobs elsewhere in CPS, leaving about 20 people out of work. CPS has about 1,800 privately employed custodians and 825 who are employed by the Chicago Board of Education.


Rahm’s privatization of school janitors is still a mess
Source: Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, June 4, 2015

For the last several months, teachers in Chicago have been doing two jobs for the price of one: instructing kids, and occasionally taking a moment to mop, scrub, or vacuum their dirty classrooms. The extra duties are the result of a $340 million privatization boondoggle from Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Among other things, it’s resulted in the Chicago Public Schools firing hundreds of janitors. Now teachers at Oriole Park elementary on the northwest side have decided to take matters into their own hands. They’ve filed a union grievance that, if successful, could force CPS to hire back some of the janitors. Apparently this is the state of things: to get CPS to clean its schools, teachers have to go all legal on them.

Chicago school cleaning contract millions over budget /Aramark has so far billed Chicago Public Schools $86 million for what was supposed to cost $64 million
Source: Becky Vevea, WBEZ, April 27, 2015

The promise of cleaner schools at a lower price has turned out to be just that — a promise. Chicago Public Schools’ three-year contract with Philadelphia-based Aramark to manage all school cleaning services is $22 million over budget, according to procurement and finance records obtained by WBEZ. Aramark has billed Chicago Public Schools $86 million for the first 11 months of its three-year contract. The first year price tag was initially set at $64 million….
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WFISD implements new cleaning standards after staph found

Source: John Ingle, Times Record-News, September 22, 2015

The Wichita Falls ISD has implemented new cleaning procedures for locker rooms after three student athletes at Rider High School tested positive for staph infection in early September. Ashley Thomas, communications officer for the district, said the district learned of the positive test results on Sept. 8. The following day, the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District was asked to collect swab samples. … Lou Kreidler, director of health at the health district, said employees from the General Environmental office met with Aramark and discussed their cleaning procedures. She said it came down to the cleaning company simply not cleaning appropriately.