Category Archives: Custodial

Editorial: To hold line on taxes, cuts must be made

Source: Daily Gazette, August 28, 2014

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t demand that government control your taxes and at the same time fight every sensible attempt to reduce government spending. Such is the case in Glenville, where the town has the opportunity to save taxpayers nearly $450,000 by hiring a private firm to clean town buildings and by not having a person in the police station lobby greeting people around the clock. The town has proposed replacing two retiring town employees with a private cleaning company, potentially saving town taxpayers nearly $100,000 a year in salaries and benefits. No one is getting fired or laid off. The positions are becoming vacant, and the town has found a cheaper way to replace them with a professional service. Yet the regional CSEA president and unionized town workers are objecting, even suggesting that the private company cleaners will steal employees’ stuff at night.

Protesters demonstrate at regents meeting against privatizing UW-Superior custodial work

Source: Milwaukee Business Journal, August 22, 2014

Union members picketed the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents in Oshkosh to oppose UW-Superior’s proposal to hire a private company to handle custodial and grounds-keeping services. The university issued a competitive request for proposals for a contract to perform those services starting in December. Current UW-Superior employees must be considered for jobs a company will create under the contract….
Related:
Protesters demonstrate at regents meeting
Source: Noell Dickmann, Northwestern Media, August 21, 2014

Union members picketed outside a UW System Board of Regents meeting Thursday in Oshkosh, speaking out against a proposal to privatize custodial and grounds-keeping services at UW Superior. Paulette Feld, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 24 and a IT network specialist at UW-Oshkosh, said members are opposed to outsourcing union jobs to private companies…. Earlier, regents unanimously approved a request asking Gov. Scott Walker for $95 million in additional tax dollars in the state’s next two-year budget agencies despite the governor telling agencies to not expect any additional tax dollars in his 2015-17 budget….

UWS Employees March Against Job Outsourcing
Source: WDIO.com, July 26, 2014

Over 100 people are marching in solidarity with UWS custodians and ground crew members on Saturday to protest the university’s consideration of a plan to outsource the jobs to private companies. … The university is considering cutting 28 jobs to help make up a $4.5 million deficit, however, 18-year UWS employee Glen Kahalar questions recent choices made by the administrators. …. . Many members of the Wisconsin State Employees Union joined the UWS workers on Saturday.

AFSCME labor union backs UWS custodial workers over threat of outsourcing
Source: NNCNow, July 27, 2014

UWS crews protest job outsourcing
Source: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram, June 10, 2014

….The university is evaluating options as it seeks to identify $4.5 million in cuts and revenue growth over the next five years, said Lynne Williams, UWS spokeswoman. About $2 million of that has to be found within two years. … The university has made no decision on the custodians and grounds crew yet, Williams said. Sending the proposal out for bid will take at least six weeks, and that process has not started yet. The proposals would be evaluated to determine if it would be feasible to outsource some or all of the work. There is no timeline on the decision, but the current contracts for custodial and grounds staff end this summer…..

School board approves custodian outsourcing for Columbus, Jefferson

Source: Korey Wilson, Hour, August 20, 2014

Despite resistance from school district custodians, the Norwalk Board of Education voted in favor of a contract that would outsource custodial services at Columbus Magnet and Jefferson Science Magnet this coming school year. With a vote of 4-3, the school board authorized Norwalk Public Schools to enter into an agreement with custodial service provider, United Services of America. The move will fill seven custodian vacancies throughout the school district and is expected to save more than $182,000….
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Local 1042 members say custodian outsourcing not good for school community
Source: Korey Wilson, Hour, August 5, 2014

In response to the school district’s plans to outsource custodian services at two schools, representatives of the custodians’ union are planning to attend Tuesday’s Board of Education’s meeting Tuesday to voice their concerns. While Norwalk Public Schools is currently considering recent bids to outsource cleaning services, full-time custodians say the school district will lose a critical part of the school community in their attempt to save money. Members of Local 1042 of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees say they provide more duties to the school district than their job titles of custodians, security guards and maintenance workers would suggest. … The school district is looking to fill seven custodian vacancies throughout the district by outsourcing cleaning duties to an outside agency. The school district recently held a walkthrough for 15 companies interested in the contract. Nine of those companies submitted bids for the contract, according to school officials. Three union representatives came to observe the school tour on July 16 but were asked to leave. Beginning next school year, some custodians will be reshuffled to new schools and an outside agency will handle all custodial duties at Columbus Magnet and Jefferson Science Magnet schools. …

Freeholder Director explains Warren Haven email leaked to press

Source: Emily Cummins, The Warren Reporter, July 24, 2014

Warren County Freeholders stated in an email sent to union officials last week, that the county has “serious doubts” regarding the feasibility of cost-saving measures suggested to save Warren Haven. ” …. “When we had had earlier discussions, we said we were not going to negotiate this in the newspaper,” Freeholder Director Ed Smith said today in response to an article by The Express-Times, stating that he was caught off guard by the distribution of the email. Outlining when negotiations began with the union, Smith said that discussions have been limited. Following a conceptual plan from AFSCME Council 73 that would, according to their research, save the county $2.5 to $3 million by increasing revenues and lowering labor costs, the county’s labor counsel determined that the suggestions were implausible, Smith said….
Related:
Warren Haven nursing home sale appears imminent, freeholders say
Source: Edward Sieger, Express-Times, July 23, 2014

In a letter to union officials last week, Warren County gave its clearest signal yet that officials plan to sell the county-run nursing facility. “Warren County continues to maintain that it is in the best interests of both resident care and taxpayers to have a clean break with the Warren Haven Nursing Home,” according to a letter from county labor attorney J. Andrew Kinsey to union officials. The letter was obtained by The Express-Times. The comments came in response to a proposal from AFSCME Council 73 aimed at increasing revenues and lowering labor costs at Warren Haven in an effort to stave off a sale to a private owner. …. The union’s proposal sought to maintain jobs and salaries while ridding the county of pension and health care costs, according to Meara.

LETTER: Warren County’s elderly deserve support, ‘home’
Source: Letters to the Editor, Express Times, July 23, 2014

…Many families are physically unable to care for a wheelchair-bound adult who requires bathing, diapers, feeding, medications and some form of socialization. Some have no families to care for them. The elderly in Warren County pay or have paid taxes, including school taxes, but perhaps have not saved enough to privately pay out close to $100,000 a year for a private nursing home. They do not benefit from the school taxes they pay but as part of a community they support the need for the children in their community. Then why shouldn’t they receive the same support?…

Warren County freeholders, labor leaders talk potential concessions at Warren Haven
Source: Sarah Peters, Express-Times, July 8, 2014
 
Union leaders who hope to spare Warren Haven, the county-owned nursing home, from privatization floated a rough proposal to county officials early last week.  The two sides came to the table July 1 for their first discussion on possible labor concessions, which the Warren Haven Advisory Committee suggested should be complete by March 31. Leaders from both sides were reluctant to discuss details in accordance with an agreement they made not to negotiate through the media.  Gerard Meara, executive director of AFSCME Council 73, said the union presented a comprehensive proposal to Freeholder Director Ed Smith, County Administrator Steve Marvin and the county’s labor attorney. He said he hopes to know better what their intentions are when they sit down again at a to-be-scheduled meeting….

Warren County freeholders move toward sale of Warren Haven, despite public objections
Source: Sarah Peters, Express-Times, June 25, 2014

Warren County freeholders unanimously voted tonight to hire a company to market and sell Warren Haven over the objections of county residents and nursing home employees. Residents packed the meeting room to its 65-person capacity, and the crowd spilled over into the vestibule and out the doors of the county administration building tonight. During a lengthy public comment, most begged officials to keep the nursing home under full county control….

GUEST COLUMN: Warren County waging a war on the elderly
Source: CJ Van Gieson, Express-Times, June 18, 2014

In less than one year, using any and every excuse imaginable, the Warren County Freeholders have systematically targeted institutions, facilities and programs serving the elderly. They’ve used deceit and backroom finagling to bring Warren Haven to its knees, blaming peer group funding losses, AFSCME union benefits, and finally callouts by nursing staff to justify freezing admissions. They even deceived the public about the New Jersey First Act which, although it preserves jobs for New Jersey residents, allows out-of-state hiring in hardship cases. Taxpaying elderly, handicapped and veterans seeking respite at Warren Haven are now directed to privatized nursing homes in Phillipsburg, turned away from the familiar place where they’d hoped to live out their days….

Warren County, unions meet to discuss future of Warren Haven nursing home
Source: Edward Sieger, Express-Times, April 6, 2014

Following a few tense weeks that saw Warren County freeholders and union officials publicly spar over the future of Warren Haven, the two sides finally sat down for what was described as a productive meeting. … Since an advisory committee issued suggestions for keeping Warren Haven in county hands, union leaders and freeholders have traded barbs over the report, sick time usage at the facility and the fact that the two sides had yet to meet face to face by March 31 as recommended by the committee. Smith said none of those issues came up Friday as the two sides held a “very reasoned discussion.” County officials explained they want to maintain a publicly owned facility but laid out the parameters necessary to achieve that goal, he said. The two sides also briefly discussed what other services Warren Haven could offer in an effort to increase revenues, Smith said. … Freeholders recently instructed county staff to begin procuring the professional services necessary to sell Warren Haven. Smith said the issue did not come up during Friday’s meeting, and that union negotiations can move on a parallel track with the preliminary stages of what would be a lengthy sale process. …

Warren Haven union blasts county over nursing home recommendations
Source: Edward Sieger, Express-Times, March 5, 2014

Union officials representing Warren Haven employees are accusing the county of just using the specter of labor costs as an excuse to privatize the county-owned nursing home. “If you want to close the facility and look for a bad guy, don’t put that burden on the employees, many of whom have spent their entire working lives at the facility,” said Gerard Meara, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 73. … AFSCME Locals 671 and 3287, which fall under Council 73, represent staff at Warren Haven and other county employees. The Warren Haven Advisory Committee last month released recommendations for keeping the nursing home under county ownership, the most significant of which is labor concessions….

Labor union reps disagree with Freeholders on how to save Warren Haven
Source: Emily Cummins, Warren Reporter, March 5, 2014

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a labor union representing Warren Haven’s workers, issued a press release today that calls into question the report and subsequent recommendations made by the Warren County Advisory Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 11.”The report unfairly targets workers, and even speculates about ways to dismantle their union… The committee’s first and most decisive recommendation is to seek significant concessions from workers,” state representatives for AFSCME state in the release…

Editorial: It’s time for serious discussion about selling Warren Haven, Warren County’s nursing home
Source: Express-Times March 5, 2014

The future of Warren Haven, Warren County’s nursing home, is now officially on the clock. Armed with the recommendations of the Warren Haven Advisory Committee, the county freeholders have challenged the union representing workers to sit down and negotiate concessions on salary, health care costs and pension benefits — with the stipulation that significant progress be made by March 31. …

Warren County residents plead for creative solution to financial woes at Warren Haven
Source: Sarah Peters, Express-Times, November 06, 2013

Warren Haven residents, their family members and caretakers pleaded with an advisory committee tonight to find an imaginative solution to privatizing the county-owned nursing home. … A few years ago, the county received $232 per bed per day in Medicaid reimbursement, Olshefski said. Today, the county receives $214, and the rate will drop again to $190 July 1, he said. Privately-paying residents are charged a break-even rate of $285 a day, Olshefski said. Nursing homes around the country, including Gracedale in Northampton County, are facing similar issues, Olshefski said. Unlike their neighbors, Warren County freeholders are limited by the state’s 2 percent cap in how much they can raise in taxes, he said. …

…County residents also asked freeholders to consider a referendum that asks taxpayers whether the county should maintain ownership of Warren Haven similar to a Gracedale ballot question Northampton County voters approved two years ago….

Warren County freeholders privatize some Warren Haven services; workers to be laid-off
Source: Andrew George, Express-Times, March 27, 2013

Warren County freeholders voted unanimously tonight to privatize laundry, housekeeping and dietary services at Warren Haven, a decision that effectively lays off 54 full-time, six part-time and three supervisory staff members. The county will award contracts – $845,000 for laundry and housekeeping services and $1.51 million for dietary services – to Bucks County-based Healthcare Services Group, Inc., which will take over effective July 1….

Agencies and Union Square Off Over Outsourcing Plans

Source: Eric Katz, GovExec.com, July 22, 2014

The National Park Service and the Coast Guard say they will hire contractors for positions typically filled by civilian employees, something a federal union says is illegal. Both agencies say they are within their legal rights. Under federal law, agencies are prohibited from contracting out functions performed by 10 or more civilian employees unless they have documented the cost benefits of such a conversion. …. The Coast Guard wants contractors to collect new user fees at its National Vessel Documentation Center in Falling Waters, W.Va. …. NPS also argued it could not afford new federal employees. The agency plans to contract out custodial and grounds-keeping work at the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pa….

Stringer blasts waste in overpaying for school cleaning supplies

Source: Michael Renshaw, New York Post, July 4, 2014

The city school system could not prove it sought competitive bids for an $88.1 million custodial-supply contract, then failed to monitor whether it was overpaying for things like mops and cleaners, according to Comptroller Scott Stringer…DOE officials responded that the comptroller relied on unverified accusations from custodians and failed to prove taxpayers were harmed. Auditors examined a five-year contract with Strategic Distribution Inc., which won the award in 2010 after competing bidders were disqualified. The auditors determined that school officials failed to monitor the market prices of supplies bought from SDI….
Related:
Audit Report On The Department Of Education’s Custodial Supply Management Contract With Strategic Distribution, Inc.
Source: New York City Comptroller, City Agency Audit Reports, MG13-079A, June 25, 2014

From the press release:
The New York City Department of Education (DOE) failed to employ adequate controls in awarding and managing a multi-million dollar custodial supply contract for city schools, potentially leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars, according to an audit released today by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer…. The Comptroller’s audit examined the first three years of the current five-year contract with Strategic Distribution, Inc. (SDI) worth $88.1 million, with an option to extend another six months for an additional $8.7 million for the purpose of furnishing and providing on-site delivery of custodial supplies to approximately 1,200 public schools throughout New York City….

School custodians consider co-op to keep jobs

Source: Associated Press, July 7, 2014 

Custodians with Ann Arbor schools may form a worker-owned cooperative as part of an effort to keep their jobs if their work is outsourced by the district.  The custodians’ union AFSCME Local 1128 voted Saturday to pursue forming the cooperative. The district could contract with the co-op for custodial work without paying into the state retirement system for school employees…
Related:
Outsourced: Ann Arbor Public Schools hires private company for custodial work
Source: Amy Biolchini, mlive.com, June 12, 2014

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education approved hiring private company GCA Services to run its custodial services beginning July 1 at its regular meeting Wednesday night. ….. GCA Services is the same company that AAPS was considering initiating a contract with in 2010 for custodial work — but the AFSCME union agreed to an 8 percent wage cut to keep its contract in place. …. AAPS custodians, if selected by GCA, would be hired in at the top of their respective pay scales and would receive seamless healthcare coverage. Benefits with GCA also include dental, vision and life insurance, short-term disability and 401k plans.

Ann Arbor school custodians may form employee-owned co-op in attempt to save their jobs
Source: Amy Biolchini, mlive.com, June 10, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools custodians are pursuing an alternative solution in an attempt to save their jobs as district officials consider outsourcing their work to a private company. The custodians’ union, AFSCME Local 1128, voted Saturday to pursue forming a worker-owned cooperative, said President Rick Redding. School board President Deb Mexicotte said the board has not yet received a proposal from the union and had no knowledge of the vote. ….. Forming a co-op would allow the district to contract with the co-op for custodial work, but would mean the district would no longer have to pay into the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. Each of the custodians would be a part-owner of the organization.

AAPS to seek bids for custodial work following school board vote
Source: Amy Biolchini, mlive.com, May 29, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools will be issuing a request for proposals this week for custodial services as the district seeks ways to cut its costs by outsourcing work. The Board of Education voted 7-0 Wednesday night to approve moving forward with the RFP. …

Ann Arbor school custodians express anger, frustration as district considers outsourcing jobs
Source: Amy Biolchini, mlive.com, May 28, 2014

Angered and frustrated, custodians from Ann Arbor Public Schools gathered for an emergency meeting Tuesday at Scarlett Middle School to figure out how to save their jobs. Members of the custodians union, AFSCME Local 1182, said they were surprised when the district announced to them last Wednesday that it was considering seeking a private company to do custodial work. The union has 114 members. … The union’s contract expires at the end of this fiscal year. Union representatives had entered the first day of scheduled negotiations last week and were presented with a request from the district for a pay freeze, members said Tuesday. On the second day of negotiations the district then said custodial services were being considered for privatization because of the potential savings of $1.8 million, members said. Hearns told the group of custodians that the move could be considered an unfair labor practice and that the union was pursuing action. In the spring of 2010 the district considered outsourcing its custodial services—but the union agreed to an 8 percent pay cut to keep their jobs. …

Butts County school board approves $26.5 million budget /Custodial contract approved 3-1

Source: Beverly Harvey, Jackson Progress-Argus, July 1, 2014

The Butts County Board of Education last week unanimously approved a $26.5 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2015, but voted 3-1 to renew a janitorial services contract with a North Carolina company…. The dissenting vote for the janitorial services contract with Facilico was cast by District 5 board member Millard Daniel who, along with Marshall, voted against the initial contract with Facilico in 2013 when the school system’s custodial services were first privatized…. The one-year contract with Facilico was for $625,834, which is almost $27,000 more than the school system’s contract with the company approved in 2013 for $599,000….

Related:
Divided school board votes to privatize custodial work
Source: Michael Davis, Jackson Progress-Argus, May 23, 2013

The Butts County Board of Education voted Thursday to privatize the work done by 21 school system custodians. Under the terms of the deal struck with North Carolina-based Facilico, all school system custodians who wish to remain on the job would be hired by the company on a 90-day probationary basis. Butts County Schools will pay $599,000 under a one-year contract, which Superintendent Robert “Buddy” Costley said Thursday will be a savings of about $150,000 off the projected cost to keep the custodial work in-house next year. … He acknowledged that the custodians would take a cut in hourly pay and the number of days worked, but said the $10- to $12-per-hour rate the system negotiated with Facilico by looking for savings elsewhere is higher than the $8 to $9 the company initially proposed. Costley said Facilico currently works with one other school system in the region, Pike County Schools, and that employees would undergo background checks at least equivalent to, if not more stringent than, those conducted by Butts County Schools….

Mansfield City Schools, union to discuss custodian efficiency

Source: Chike Erokwu, Mansfield News Journal, June 27, 2014

In lieu of privatizing custodian services, the Mansfield City Schools Financial Planning and Supervision Commission recommended the district find ways to make current custodian services more efficient. … The Financial Planning and Supervision Commission previously considered privatizing custodian services, but decided against it after savings estimates were found to be lower than previously expected, Marshall said. “Initially, we thought we could save close to $1 million by privatizing custodians,” Marshall said. “The last number we received was $300,000. For a million, we’re willing to take that risk, but for that amount of money, we’re not willing to take the risk.”…

SHU’s outsourcing means loss of free tuition for custodians’ kids

Source: Keila Torres Ocasio, ctpost.com, June 14, 2014

A perk of working for a university is often the right for a worker’s children to attend free of charge. The benefit was one of the main reasons that Miguel, who declined to give his full name, decided to take a $6 an hour pay cut when he went to work for the custodial department at Sacred Heart University two years ago….But beginning this summer, Miguel’s daughter, who will be a junior in high school this fall, will no longer have the benefit of free tuition at the university because Miguel will no longer be working directly for SHU. The university this summer is outsourcing management of its custodial services to Southeast Service Corp., a Tennessee company and subsidiary of the Compass Group Inc. “SHU has had a working relationship the Compass Group for many years, through its subsidiary Chartwells Dining Services, which consistently receives high marks from the university community,” said Funda Alp, an SHU spokesperson….