Queens Borough Public Library announced Oct. 23 that it will no longer use outside custodians — a victory for the union, which has long fought farming out work to private firms — and a possible sign of improving labor relations at the library. QBPL said it will end its contract with the Busy Bee cleaning company in December, eliminate the remaining contracted custodians in June, and replace the contracted workers with union custodians. The library has about 70 unionized custodians. It had many more before 2008, when it stopped hiring custodians and began shrinking the in-house staff through attrition. In 2013, QBPL decided to hire contract custodians rather than union custodians, even though its budget had stabilized. The library will use $2.8 million in additional funding that the City Council restored earlier this year to hire 16 new full-time custodians and 19 clerical workers….
Though we don’t have a union contract, workers at the University of Memphis last month took quick action and backed management off its plan to privatize our Social Security—for now, anyway. The university made the announcement December 12: on just a week’s notice, almost 2,000 temporary workers, including one of the authors of this article, would be laid off. We could reapply in hopes of getting our jobs back. The affected workers included many long-term temps, such as people working as data and lab techs, custodians and groundskeepers, and lots of adjunct faculty. …. Public employees are denied our right to bargain in Tennessee, but that hasn’t stopped us from organizing. … The mass layoff was part of a new temporary employee policy. If rehired, we would be no longer participate in Social Security. Instead, we would be enrolled in a “FICA alternative plan.” ….. It turns out that Congress created this type of plan for public employers in 1990, overturning previous regulations that had ensured that public employees could not be exempted from Social Security. These FICA alternative plans can only affect temporary seasonal workers in new positions, which is why the university had to fire and rehire us. They’re used by various public entities, particularly in the South….
Custodial and grounds employees at the School District of Lancaster are challenging the school board’s decision to outsource their jobs starting in January. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, which represents the district’s support staff, voted on Dec. 5 to reject the terms of the district’s outsourcing plan, according to an AFSCME official. The union also filed a grievance that disputes the outsourcing decision based on terms in the employee contract that expires in June 2016. The city school board voted in November to outsource 94 custodial and grounds positions to GCA Services Group, of Ohio. The $9.7 million contract begins Jan. 1, 2015 and ends June 30, 2016….
City school custodians outsourced; jobs offered at contracted company
Source: Kara Newhouse, Lancaster Online, November 18, 2014
School District of Lancaster custodians will keep their current wages if they move to an contracted company, according to district officials. The school board voted Tuesday night to outsource 94 custodial and grounds positions to GCA Services Group, of Ohio. The $9.7 million contract begins Jan. 1, 2015 and ends June 30, 2016. ….The savings primarily come from the elimination of the pension costs. Support staff at public schools in Pennsylvania get retirement benefits through the Public School Employee Retirement System. ….
SDL custodians in limbo amid outsourcing negotiations
Source: Kara Newhouse, Lancaster Online, October 20, 2014
In June, the SDL board approved a 2014-15 budget that relies on $500,000 in savings from outsourcing 94 custodial and grounds crew members. It was one of several measures taken to fill a $7.7-million deficit. But two months into the school year, the board still hasn’t approved an outsourcing contract — leaving workers in employment limbo. … To move forward with outsourcing, the district must prove that it would save money and provide the same or higher level of service, said Michael Fox, a representative of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, which represents SDL support staff.
SDL board plans to outsource custodians, raise taxes
Source: Kara Newhouse, Lancaster Online, May 20, 2014
The School District of Lancaster board on Tuesday approved a proposed final budget that would outsource 100 custodial and grounds positions, among other cuts. … The outsourcing of custodial and grounds crews is projected to save the district $500,000, primarily from reduced pension and health care costs, according to Chief Financial and Operations Officer Matthew Przywara. The board previously directed administrators to explore outsourcing support staff positions through attrition, which requires union approval….
SDL execs, employees clash over outsourcing
Source: Kara Newhouse, Lancaster Online, April 15, 2014
School District of Lancaster officials and support staff members played a game of “he said, she said” over possible outsourcing at a board meeting on Tuesday. Board president Stacey Marten and Superintendent Pedro Rivera stressed that the board is considering outsourcing only vacant positions, but support staff who are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said they were told the district intended to outsource all positions. The school board previously directed administrators to meet with AFSCME representatives to discuss outsourcing vacant positions. That meeting occurred March 27. AFSCME’s district council director Michael Fox said at the board meeting Tuesday that AFSCME agreed to take to its members a proposal to outsource vacant custodial, maintenance and health room technician jobs if no other outsourcing would be considered….
Grosvenor Building Services, one of the first building services providers in Florida to have achieved CIMS-certification and to deliver green and sustainable cleaning programs, has announced that it was recently awarded a $4.5 million contract by the Florida Department of Management Services. The five-year contract calls for Grosvenor Building Services to provide custodial services for various state-owned facilities in both North and South Florida.
The company, responding to a Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) Invitation to Negotiate (ITN), was evaluated based on company qualifications, approach to the project and pricing. Initially providing services to DMS Region 3, Grosvenor Building Services has expanded its coverage in other regions of the state, including Region 2 (Tallahassee) and Region 5 (South Florida). The agreement also provides the possibility of a five-year renewal. Currently Grosvenor cleans more than 4 million square feet of DMS-managed facilities on a daily basis.
DMS is also in the process of evaluating this contract for approval as an alternate contract source, which would allow other agencies to “piggy back” on this agreement….
ABM Facility Services has secured a contract with the Perrysburg Exempted Village School District in Perrysburg, OH, to implement a district-wide energy and facility improvement project…. The deal is expected to save the school district more than US$4.9 million in energy and operating costs over the next 15 years based on current energy prices. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.
ABM to Provide Minimum Expected Savings of $4.9 Million for Perrysburg, OH Schools /Perrysburg School District to Benefit From State’s Energy Conservation Program
Source: ABM Industries Incorporated, Press Release via Globe Newswire, November 20, 2014
ABM, a leading provider of facility solutions, announced its ABM Building Solutions business has been selected by Perrysburg Exempted Village School District in Perrysburg, Ohio to implement district-wide, comprehensive infrastructure improvements through ABM’s Bundled Energy Solutions program. The customized solution developed by ABM will provide energy efficient upgrades and facility enhancements to each of the six schools within the district. The project, which began in October 2013, was completed earlier this month and provides Perrysburg with minimum expected savings of $4.9 million in energy and operating costs over a 15-year period….Under the contract, ABM will provide facility improvements to the school district’s six schools, administration, maintenance and transportation buildings. The upgrades include installing building envelope improvements, lighting enhancements, occupancy sensors, HVAC equipment and chiller retro-commissioning, control upgrades and water conservation methods. In addition, existing boilers with low operating hours were moved from Frank Elementary and Perrysburg Junior High to Ft. Meigs Elementary and Toth Elementary….
Source: Holly Fournier, The Detroit News 11:28 a.m. EDT October 27, 2014
About 70 employees of the Detroit Medical Center’s environmental services department rallied Monday to protest the hospital’s plan to outsource housekeeping jobs to a company called Sodexo.
Their protest came moments before a 3-hour hearing Monday in Detroit’s federal court to address the hospital’s plan. The hearing continues with oral arguments Wednesday morning.
DMC files to make 565 custodial layoffs official
Source: Lauren Abdel-Razzaq, The Detroit News 4:27 p.m. EDT October 10, 2014
The Detroit Medical Center has formally announced plans to permanently lay off 565 custodial employees when it switches vendors in December. The hospital group filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification with the state on Oct. 1, saying it plans to transfer housekeeping services at area hospitals to a new vendor “in order to maintain efficient and reliable hospital operations.”
Union sues DMC, claims bargaining violation
Source: Lauren Abdel-Razzaq, Detroit News, October 1, 2014
A local labor union has sued the Detroit Medical Center and its affiliates for what they claim is a violation of collective bargaining agreement rights when they announced plans to contract out custodial services. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court on behalf of about 300 employees in the Council 25 locals 140, 180 and 3695. The lawsuit alleges that the DMC intends to get around having to bargain with the union and is asking a judge to stop them from contracting with the third party custodial service company. “They want to send this stuff out to a third party and under our collective bargaining agreement it is binding on successors,” said Bruce Miller of the Miller Cohen law firm, which handles litigation for AFSCME. “We have to take action before the agreement is made.”…
….This much is unarguable: If “privatizing,” as the term has been coined, costs more than the government function cost taxpayers in the first place, then it’s a bad idea no matter what function we’re talking about. That, apparently, is the case with the Georgia Department of Transportation — or rather, would have been the case if a DOT committee hadn’t done its homework. The department was considering a contract for janitorial and other services at highway welcome centers and rest areas. The DOT sent out a request for proposals, and received two bids, one for $37.7 million and the other for $36.5 million. Except that, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Transportation Board’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) Committee determined that the DOT could employ people to do the same work for $27.8 million….
An East Boston janitorial company has been ordered by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to pay more than $750,000 for unlawfully deducting wages from workers’ paychecks at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority facilities in Boston. Between March 2012 and September 2013, Star Service Corp., a subcontractor of janitorial provider ABM, took more than $959,000 out of 160 workers’ checks for health, pension, and welfare fund benefits but never contributed to the funds, according to the attorney general’s investigation. Under state law, cleaning and maintenance workers at buildings owned or rented by the Commonwealth can receive wages that include pension and health fund deductions, but if no payments are made to those funds, the money must go to the worker. …
Responding to reports of filthy conditions inside Chicago Public Schools after privatizing janitorial management, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Aramark could “clean out the schools or they can clean out their desks and get out.”… Emanuel said Board President David Vitale has been in contact with the private management firm. Vitale and other board members had voted earlier this year to give Aramark a $260 million contract to manage the district’s custodians and cleaning supplies. …
Schools CEO: privatizing janitorial services not ‘as smooth as we would like’
Source: Becky Vevea, WBEZ, September 15, 2014
Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett admitted Monday that turning over management of school janitors to two private companies hasn’t been going very well. …. But so far, the outsourcing seems to have led to dirty schools, property damage, poor communication and janitors being laid off. Those complaints came to light in a survey of more than 230 principals conducted by the Administrators Alliance for Proven Policy and Legislation in Education, or AAPPLE, a member-driven arm of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. …
Chicago Public Schools contractor to lay off 476 custodians
Source: Lauren Fitzpatrick And Matt McKinney, Chicago Sun-Times, September 14, 2014
The move to lay off nearly 500 privately contracted custodial workers who clean Chicago Public Schools will make it harder to keep classrooms tidy, the union representing the custodians said Sunday…. The Sun-Times reported Saturday that 476 custodians who clean Chicago Public Schools will lose their jobs at the end of the month…. The cuts come after CPS officials agreed to a $260 million contract in March with the firm Aramark, which used subcontractors to employ the custodial workers, CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said Saturday. CPS principals have complained about school cleanliness since the district privatized the janitorial services, according to a survey by AAPPLE, a new activist group under the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association….
They seldom get the headlines of a Harvard University or a Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but hundreds of companies in Massachusetts support higher education institutions across the state under contracts that total in the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars. The Boston Business Journal reviewed the money spent in the 2013 fiscal year on independent contractors by more than two dozen colleges and universities in Greater Boston – the most expensive contracts at each school — and found a total of more than $709 million. That doesn’t count several dozen additional nonprofit colleges or universities and hundreds if not thousands of smaller contracts at each institution. Four of the biggest contracts were at Harvard University. Three of those, totaling $164 million, went to construction companies and one, for $40 million, went to Brigham and Women’s Hospital for a research subcontract….
…With contracts totaling $16 million, Aramark, a food service provider, was one of the most prevalent vendors among local colleges and universities, with contracts at Simmons College, Wheaton College, Regis College, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Berklee College of Music and Stonehill College. Looking forward, construction companies and related functions, such as architects, will continue to score the biggest vendor contracts at colleges and universities, said Jim Murtha, chairman and CEO of Maguire Associates, a higher education consulting company in Concord. Construction is the type of big-ticket function that most higher education institutions cannot bring in-house, he said. Yet, new types of pricey contracts are starting to evolve – for one, outsourced facilities management services, Murtha said. Those contracts include everything from janitorial services to painting lines on a ball field. Smaller colleges, in particular, are finding it less expensive to outsource all of these functions to one vendor, rather than running part of it in-house – janitorial services, for example – and signing smaller contracts with different service providers to fill the gaps….