Category Archives: Custodial

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….

Letter: Low wages hurting AFSCME

Source: Bob Guzowski, Skilled Trades – AFSCME local 1568, CM Life, April 8, 2014

To the CMU community: In July, the union contract that represents the Service Maintenance group of CMU will expire. In the interim, contract negotiations will begin between CMU and AFSCME, the union that represents the 187 workers made up of custodial, grounds, warehouse workers and skilled trades. …. Six years ago, our unit agreed to a two-tier wage scale for custodial services. Employees in that work group hired since July 2008 have worked for $9.50 an hour. …. Privatization of custodial services at CMU has been the wedge to extract these concessions. It is my hope that during this round of negotiations, CMU will recognize that $9.50 per hour is well below the poverty level set by the federal government for a family of four. …

California Labor Commissioner orders Southern California Company to return over $336,000 to janitorial workers for unpaid wages

Source: PR Newswire, April 3, 2014

California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su issued citations totaling $369,253 against California Office Maintenance, Inc., based in Poway for multiple wage theft violations. The investigation resulted in assessments of $336,103 for unpaid wages and premiums, and $33,150 in penalties for multiple wage theft violations that affected 115 janitorial workers over a three year period. … The sanctions against Joe Johnson, owner and Chief Executive Officer, include minimum wage violations of $237,665, rest period premiums of $81,769 for denying breaks to workers and unpaid meal period premiums that totaled $12,446. The minimum wage violations included the practice of employing a husband-wife team but only paying one of them. Additional wage fines consisted of $2,845 in reporting time pay to employees and $1,376 to those who worked overtime but were not paid accordingly. California Office Maintenance, Inc. was also required to pay $33,150 in civil penalties for these violations, which occurred over a three-year period ending on March 21.

Former Hampton Schools’ spokeswoman criticizes custodian outsourcing handling

Source: Austin Bogues, Daily Press, April 4, 2014

Former Hampton City Schools spokeswoman Ann Stephens-Cherry is criticizing the way Hampton City Schools handled outsourcing its custodial program to a private company, GCA Services Group. The School Board voted on a budget plan Wednesday evening to outsource custodial services at “market wages and benefits” to the company in an effort to save the division $2 million per year. But many custodians said they were dissastified with the amount of information they were given at a February meeting regarding the outsourcing.
Related:
Hampton School Board weighing options on how to outsource custodial services
Source: Austin Bogues, Daily Press, February 20, 2014

Hampton school division custodians are closely watching a proposal that would outsource their work to a private company. Hampton school administrators met with custodial workers Wednesday to answer questions about their future. At issue is a proposal before the Hampton School Board to outsource its custodial program to a private company, GCA Services Group. … Hellman said the school division is looking at a cooperative agreement with Isle of Wight to “ride” — or join — its contract with GCA Services Group, meaning it wouldn’t have to solicit bids from other companies. … School Board members have to decide between options for outsourcing the custodial duties. They could contract a plan that matches employees’ current pay and benefits, or they could select a plan that pays market wages and benefits. … The Hampton school division employs 214 full-time and part-time custodians. The average custodian for Hampton city schools earns about $11 an hour, according to Ruth. …

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. …
Related:
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….

Related:
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….

Committee will make recommendation on fate of director of facilities in Tuscarora

Source: Amber South, publicopinionnews.com, March 24, 2014

Tuscarora school board will hold off on deciding whether or not to cut the position of director of facilities operations.

School board President Clifford Smith announced at the special board meeting Monday that the buildings and grounds committee would instead review the administration’s recommendation to cut the position, and make their own recommendation to the school board, likely at the April board meeting. The school board made the decision in an executive session prior to Monday’s meeting.

In a packet provided at the meeting, Superintendent Charles Prijatelj stated that eliminating the position could save the district $559,994 over five years.

His original recommendation to cut the director of facilities operations, held by Stanley Morgan, followed many weeks of contemplation over outsourcing the entire department of maintenance and custodial workers. The school board even voted to solicit bids on three options to make that happen.

“As it stands now, the board has decided that is not the way we want to go,” Smith said. ….

…Quinn added that the director of facilities “gives the district continuity” in working with contractors, and “is our watchdog” by ensuring contractors do what they are paid to do.

“It would be premature and imprudent to eliminate the facilities director position,” she said.

But according to Prijatelj, per the information packet, the position “is a redundant position that was created to deal with construction manager type tasks. At this time, our construction/renovation projects represent no more than 10 to 15 days of consultation work a year. Even with the proposed insourcing of maintenance services, this position is an unneeded luxury.” …

Jenkins proposes raising minimum wage for Dallas County contract workers

Source: Matthew Watkins, Dallas Morning news, The Scoop blog, March 25, 2014

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Tuesday proposed raising the minimum wage for private employees who do contract work for the county. Full-time workers who handle janitorial duties, security and other labor would be paid at least $10.25 per hour under the policy. Currently, many of those employees are paid at or slightly above the federal minimum, which is $7.25 per hour….The exact details of the proposal still need to be ironed out, officials said. But Jenkins said he envisions including a minimum among the specifications it requires when it seeks bids for contract work. The Commissioners Court considered one such bid during Tuesday’s meeting, approving janitorial services for the county’s Health and Human Services building. Jenkins abstained from the vote because the contractor planned to hire a janitor who would work 40 hours per week at $8 per hour. That adds up to over $16,000 per year, with no medical benefits. The others members of the court unanimously approved the contract….

Metairie janitorial firm pays $277,500 in back wages to workers at Convention Center

Source: Katherine Sayre, Times-Picayune, March 26, 2014

Empire Janitorial Sales and Services Inc. of Metairie has paid more than $277,500 in back wages to current and former workers employed by subcontractor Acadian Payroll Services LLC, the result of an investigation into overtime pay violations, the U.S. Department of Labor said this week. The Labor Department said 233 janitorial service workers were wrongfully classified as independent contractors and were not paid overtime wages for working more than 40 hours in a week. The janitors worked at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and other sites. Federal law requires employees to be paid time and one-half after they work for 40 hours in a week, but the janitors were paid a regular rate for the overtime, the department said….

School budget plan could eliminate custodial jobs in district

Source: Bobby Liga, NBC40.net, March 18, 2014

The Hamilton Township Board of Education voted Tuesday night on the latest proposed school budget that more than 2 dozen custodial workers fear will put them out of work. The New Jersey Education Association says the board approved the preliminary budget for next year, which the board says will include cuts of more than $2 million. Cuts that many custodians say will put them on the unemployment line. Custodians at the Hamilton Township School District are up in arms about the possibility of custodial services being privatized in the district….

Related:
Hamilton Township school board backs budget that could privatize jobs of 30 custodians
Source: Elisa Lala, pressofAtlanticCity.com, March 18, 2014

The Board of Education voted Tuesday night in favor of a $48 million school district budget that keeps the amount raised by taxes the same as last year. Measures taken to stay within the budget are up to the discretion of the district superintendent. The board has proposed eliminating the jobs of the district’s 30 custodians by privatizing the custodial services and bringing in an outside company, GSA Services, which is based in Ohio. Keeping its current custodians would cost the owner of a home assessed at $100,000 a $32 annual increase in school taxes, which equates to $2.75 per month or 9 cents a day, officials said….

School system expects big savings on cleaning contract

Source: Colton Campbell, Times-Georgian, March 21, 2014

Carroll County Schools will continue to be cleaned by a contracted service for another year, the board of education voted this week. A contract extension with Southern Management cleaning service was on the table for a BOE vote, with the board voting 5-1 to extend the contract by one year, despite vocal objections by one board member, who went so far as to email board members the day of the vote to say he’d be voting no. …. Cater said he became concern with the company’s quality of service after a teacher emailed him photos of a pile of “dirt, old food, hair, etc.” that she had to clean up on a Sunday afternoon. ….
Related:
Custodial plan saves system $430K so far
Source: Colton Campbell, Times-Georgian, February 13, 2014

…Despite the savings, at least one board member and some principals are not satisfied with the service provided by Southern Management, which the system contracted last year for $2.76 million. … Annualizing that number, Fulford projects the system saving $860,000 in the service. Adding in the projected savings of $90,000 on worker’s compensation and general liability premiums, he predicts the school system will save $950,000 by contracting Southern Management. …. In the comments, principals complain of “lots of turnover and lack of training,” saying that they are “working toward satisfaction” with the company, which is more like a cleaning service than a custodial staff, Goldberg said. …. “Yes, the floors are better now that I’ve said something to them, but they’re still nowhere near as clean as they were when we had our custodial staff,” he said. “I’ve heard it put to me this way — you can either have a steak or a Happy Meal, so it’s apparently about money versus quality.” ….

Custodian outsourcing to save county schools $1 million
Source: Colton Campbell, Times-Georgian, March 22, 2013

Custodial positions in Carroll County Schools will be outsourced to a private company. The Board of Education, in a narrow 4-3 vote Thursday night, accepted the proposal of Southern Management, a regionally focused school facility maintenance company, which will save the school system more than $1 million in its fiscal year 2014 budget. All custodians currently on staff at one of the system’s schools will have the opportunity to be hired by Southern Management, provided they pass the pre-screening and background check. The decision to privatize the service will also come with a pay cut for most custodians. James Fulford, chief financial officer for the system, said the average day custodian gets paid around $11.50 an hour in the current, school-run system. Once hired by Southern Management, a day custodian will be paid $9 an hour….