Category Archives: Custodial

Frustrations and concerns voiced at WKU budget cut forum

Source: Aaron Mudd, Bowling Green Daily News, April 29, 2016

Frustrations and concerns about a planned budget cut of more than $6 million at Western Kentucky University brought students and staff together for an open forum Thursday. … On Wednesday, the university announced a plan to spread out a $6,039,200 budget cut in fiscal year 2017. The cut was possible by trimming from 24 different areas, Ransdell said, and it had to be done without threatening filled faculty positions, credit-bearing academic programs and core student services.  Some programs were consolidated, reduced or eliminated, Ransdell said. About six current WKU employees will lose their jobs, he said.  Ransdell said a move to transfer 202 building services and grounds employees to private contractor Sodexo will save 25 jobs and about $750,000. A 48 percent employer contribution increase to the Kentucky Employees Retirement System is a notable cost to WKU. … Compared to the 10 vacation days WKU provides in December, Sodexo provides three days. Bryan Russell, WKU’s chief facilities officer, said the university will buy out any unused vacation time when the employees transfer to Sodexo in July.  Despite the budget cut, WKU is also phasing in a 3 percent salary increase for all full-time employees between July 1 and July 1, 2017. …

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WKU Building and Grounds Employees Voice Concerns in Budget Forum
Source: Lisa Autry, WKU Public Radio, April 28, 2016

The president of Western Kentucky University says building services attendants will get “pretty similar” benefits when their work is transferred to a private contractor. … Under the change, employees will get fewer sick days. That’s a concern for Paul Barbour, whose wife works as a BSA.  Barbour says she’s taken a lot of time off because of ailments related to a car accident. Barbour fears the Sodexo will put productivity over people. … Sodexo is also expected to offer less paid vacation time around Christmas time.  Employees will get three days off in December compared to the 10 days they were given by WKU.   No BSAs will lose their jobs.  They’ll also receive a one dollar per hour raise when they transfer to Sodexo.

WKU plan privatizes 202 staff positions
Source: Jacob Dick, WKU Herald, April 27, 2016

WKU custodial, building services, groundskeeping and waste management employees working on the Bowling Green campus will be employed by a private company starting in August to save money in the 2016-17 budget. On Wednesday, university administration informed faculty and staff that Sodexo, a private employment management service, would be taking over as employer for an additional 202 WKU workers. The change is supposed to save $745,000 for the next fiscal year. … Chief Facilities Officer Bryan Russell confirmed at a media briefing Wednesday that 18 staff with 20 or more years of employment would remain under WKU. … Russell said employees hired at the starting rate of $9.26 would receive that raise, and staff who were paid more than that amount will have their salaries adjusted with smaller raises. Russell also said children of staff currently enrolled in the university will still receive tuition discounts for attending WKU. Staff will receive discounts until 2017. … WKU has had a contract with Sodexo for 20 years, and the contract will be amended at the end of the fiscal year to include additional staff.

WKU ground and service employment to be privatized
Source: WKU Herald, April 27, 2016

WKU custodial, building services, landscape and waste management employees working on the Bowling Green campus will no longer be employed by the university effective this August. On Wednesday, employees were informed that their employment with the university would end in July and that a private employment management service, Sodexo, would be taking over as their employer. … It continued to state that areas within the Department of Facilities Management, Housing and Residence Life and Downing Student Union would not be impacted.

Hundreds attend N.J. school district meeting to fight outsourcing

Source: Brittany M. Wehner, NJ.com, April 29, 2016

A South Jersey school district has decided to seek bids for services that could replace staff, school board officials said Thursday night. Due to a deficit in the budget, Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional School District administration is being forced to find a way to fill the gaps. One possibility is job cuts, then outsourcing, or bringing outside services into the district. Woodstown-Pilesgrove faced a $1.4 million deficit in the budget in May 2015, which also brought layoffs. However, the budget is still at a deficit of $333,223, according to District Business Administrator Frank Rizzo. Since 2010, the district has already cut more than 30 staff positions. The district now faces possible cuts in class-three maintenance, custodial, cafeteria, and paraprofessional staff. … When it came down to the vote granting administration permission to research costs for outsourcing, the board was split. It passed with a 4 to 3 vote with one abstention. … However, hundreds of parents, teachers, and staff turned out for the board meeting and made their voices and concerns heard, claiming outsourcing is not the way to go.

Campus workers present letter of concern to Haslam administration over privatization effort

Source: Richard Locker, Knoxville News Sentinel, April 26, 2016

… The governor’s facilities management outsourcing initiative is apparently the largest ever attempted by a state government. When a request for information was issued last summer to gauge interest from potential contractors, it proposed a contract covering the operation and maintenance of virtually all state-owned property, including office buildings, state parks, college and university campuses, prisons, armories and hospitals. In March, the outsourcing team issued a “business justification” for the plan estimating that it could save taxpayers $36 million a year if fully implemented, even while protecting current employees’ jobs — although their employment would be transferred to the contractor. Cowles acknowledged at the time that no firm cost comparison would be realized until a contract is bid and negotiated. Largely at the request of higher education officials, Haslam agreed to hire an outside consultant to evaluate his team’s estimates of savings and the state on March 17 started the process of selecting a contractor to perform that work.

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Tennessee moves to review possible outsourcing partners
Source: Adam Tamburin, The Tennesean, April 11, 2016

The state took steps Monday to review possible options for outsourcing facilities management on college campuses and other government-owned properties. An internal review released last month by Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration suggested privatizing the management of residence halls, student centers and other properties across the state could save $36 million annually. On Monday the state released a request for qualifications, or RFQ, that will allow businesses to express interest in participating in the proposed outsourcing plan. … Critics have said outsourcing would translate to sub-par services, particularly for colleges, and slashed pay and benefits for employees. Haslam has said the savings are possible without layoffs or cuts to pay or benefits.

Critics question Haslam’s outsourcing plan
Source: Joel Ebert, The Tennessean, March 22, 2016

While proponents of the plan say the effort will result in taxpayers saving millions of dollars, Chris Dauphin, the organization’s communications director, questioned the $35.8 million in estimated savings. The figure was mentioned by Terry Cowles, director of customer-focused government, during a presentation to the Senate State and Local Government Committee in early March. On Tuesday, Dauphin told the same committee that the state can save money without having to outsource the facilities management on every state property. … Dauphin advocated for a more common-sense approach before warning that outsourcing could result in cost shifting down the line. He said a private company could decide to have annual rate increases, pointing to a contract between the Texas A&M University system and Compass Group USA, an outsourcing company, that resulted in students being forced into paying more for meal plans as a result of the privatization plan. Dauphin also explained that the 1,647 state workers at the university were forced to reapply for their jobs, with only 600 being rehired.
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County rejects Claremont privatization pitches

Source: Zack Hoopes, The Sentinel, April 25, 2016

The county’s quasi-controversial interest in further privatization at the Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center appears to have come to a halt. The Cumberland County Commissioners voted unanimously yesterday to reject all offers received from vendors to completely take over the food, housekeeping, and laundry departments at the county-owned nursing home. After reviewing the bids received last month, county staff recommended to the commission that none of the offers were worth it. … In February, the commissioners had voted to issue a bid solicitation for vendors to run Claremont’s auxiliary functions. Currently, an outside management company – Sodexo – is responsible for the cash flow. But the 75 workers in the food, laundry, and housekeeping services are county employees. If the county were to go through with it, the proposal would have had those jobs become private-sector.

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County to get proposals on privatization of some nursing home functions
Source: Zack Hoopes, The Sentinel, February 1, 2016

Cumberland County has committed to at least testing the waters a bit when it comes to further outsourcing at the Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The county’s’ Board of Commissioners voted two-to-one Monday to issue a request for proposals for an outside contractor to completely take over the food, housekeeping, and laundry departments at the county-owned nursing home. … Approximately 75 employees would be affected if the county were to move forward with such a proposal, which would not directly impact nurses or any other medical staff. Bids are due back March 10, with Sodexo or any other qualified company able to make a pitch. … The 65-page bid specification the county issued lays out, in detail, how the outside vendor would be required to maintain the current levels of quality and service. It also specifies that employees bound by collective bargaining agreements are to keep their jobs – the 75 employees in the food, housekeeping, and laundry operations are unionized.

Plainfield D-202 to hold hearing on outsourcing custodial services

Source: Felix Sarver, Herald News, April 24, 2016

… The district received bids from GCA Services Group, ABM and Aramark for custodial services that could reduce costs between $908,000 to $9.9 million during the next three years, depending on the number of positions deployed, pay rates and benefits, district officials have said. A three-year total cost analysis of six base bids presented to the public at an April 11 board meeting from the companies showed GCA Services Group mostly having the lowest cost, with the exception of base bid No. 3 from ABM. Aramark showed to have the highest cost. PASS, the district’s support staff union, has criticized the proposal and rallied against the proposal. …

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Plainfield School District 202 Hears Bids for Custodial Services
Source: Scott Viau, Plainfield Patch, April 13, 2016

Three businesses have submitted bids to the Plainfield School District 202 Board of Education to take over custodial services from the Plainfield Association of Support Staff. The businesses include Wisconsin-based ABM, Aramark and Downers Grove-based GCA Services Group. While District 202 will hold a public hearing on the bids at its April 25 meeting, the Board of Education heard the bids Monday evening at its regular board meeting. … The bids received would reduce costs between $908,000 to $9.9 million over the next three years, depending on benefits, pay rates and the number of positions employed. District 202 currently has 190 custodial positions that work either 4, 6, 6.5 or 8 hours daily. If PASS custodians continue to work at the schools, it would cost the district about $27.5 million over three years, according to the district. The school district asked vendors to provide costs for six different service packages, with the number of employees, hours worked and pay rates being the variables.

View from Union’s Side on 202 Custodian Issue
Source: WJOL, April 13, 2016

As Plainfield School District 202 looks in the possibility of outsourcing custodial services in an effort to save money, Ann Bachman McIntosh who is with Uniserve IEA and is representing the custodians in District 202, says there is a lack of transparency from the district to the custodians when it comes to actual savings of possible outsourcing. Currently the District is mulling over 3 bids for possibly outsourcing custodial services, and McIntosh told WJOL that district will not allow them to see the bids under consideration. When asked if the District could save money and receive the same level of service, McIntosh says being fiscally responsible is very important but, that there could be an impact on the local economy.

Plainfield support staff union rallies at District 202 meeting
Source: Felix Sarver, The Herald-News, February 22, 2016

District 202 officials’ announcement earlier this month that they were considering outsourcing custodial services came as a “complete shock” to PASS members, who have since planned to rally and pack Board of Education meetings from February to May. Board President Michelle Smith read a statement at Monday’s meeting saying she had to apologize to parents, staff and custodians “who have been misled by blatantly inaccurate information” about board members’ consideration of outsourcing. … She said discussions about outsourcing initially arose in response to concerns of a possible strike by custodians during the upcoming PASS negotiations. The district is obligated to keep buildings open, clean and well-maintained and one way to do so in the event of the strike is to contract with a third party, she said.

Plainfield District 202 to consider outsourcing custodial services
Source: Felix Sarver, The Herald-News, February 12, 2016

Plainfield School District 202 officials are considering outsourcing custodial services, which comes as a “complete shock,” according to the district’s support staff union.  A news release sent Friday afternoon announced District 202 will explore outsourcing custodial services to “more effectively manage its finances in light of the state’s unpredictable and inadequate” funding of public education. … “The news that the school district will consider outsourcing came as a complete shock to the 148 talented, dedicated and very concerned custodians in the school district,” according to a statement attributed to PASS President John Piechocinski distributed Friday afternoon. The PASS statement also said replacing “not-for-profit school district employees with a for-profit company” will jeopardize safety, cleanliness and security in schools. … The district tentatively plans to solicit bids for custodial services on or about March 8 and the board would publicly review and consider bids at its April 11 meeting, according to the district’s news release.

Schools now taking custodial outsourcing bids

Source: Ashley Hodge, Gazette-Virginian, April 13, 2016

Halifax County Public Schools will receive bids from custodial outsourcing companies through May 4 after Halifax County School Board members amended and approved a request for proposal at their meeting Monday evening in Halifax. The RFP was unanimously approved by a 5-0 vote with ED-3 Trustee Kim Farson, ED-7 Trustee R. K. “Dick” Stoneman and ED-1 Trustee Orey Hill absent from the meeting. … The RFP states the first contract will be for 12 months from June 1, 2016 through June 1, 2017 with the school system having the option of extension annually up to an additional five years. Extension will be based upon satisfactory performance of the contractor. The RFP initially said sealed proposals would be accepted until May 13, but ED-6 Trustee Fay Satterfield suggested moving the date to May 4, so bids could be reviewed prior to the board’s May 9 meeting. … Jennings said he wrote the RFP so that companies will give prices based on whether the employees become company employees or if they remain employees of the school system.

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Group gives proposal on outsourcing custodial services for schools
Source: Doug Ford, Gazette-Virginian, February 1, 2016

Halifax County School Board trustees decided to seek more information on a possible outsourcing of services after listening to a presentation by GCA Services at its work session in Halifax on Friday. … GCA serves approximately 3,000 schools in 48 states, including 17 partners in Virginia and with a 96 percent contract retention rate. … Halifax County Public Schools currently employs 50 custodians and 18 maintenance workers, all vested in the VRS system. Operations and maintenance accounts for approximately 8 percent or $5,271,184 of the current budget for Halifax County Public Schools, and GCA, if implemented would save the school system approximately $958,240 its first year, not including VRS payments, according to GCA representatives. …

3 contractors to share Chelmsford schools custodial duties

Source: Alana Melanson, Lowell Sun, April 16, 2016

The School Committee has accepted Superintendent Jay Lang’s recommendation to contract with three smaller cleaning companies to provide nighttime custodial services for Chelmsford schools in fiscal 2017. At a Friday afternoon meeting, the committee voted unanimously to contract with Advanced Maintenance Solutions Inc. S.J. Services, Inc. and Dynamic Janitorial Cleaning Inc. for a combined cost of $733,294. The three companies will provide services at night, while soon-to-be-hired in-house custodians will clean and provide maintenance during the day as part of a new hybrid custodial model. … Aramark was one of 10 companies to submit proposals for the new cleaning contract, but was rejected due to previous concerns. …

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Chelmsford schools to alter custodial model
Source: Alana Melanson, Lowell Sun, February 15, 2016x

Keeping in line with an earlier vote to pursue a hybrid custodial model, the School Committee on Tuesday authorized a request for proposals for nighttime school custodial services. Under the minimum staffing model proposed by Superintendent of Schools Jay Lang in January, the School Department will hire a district-wide director of facility services, a lead day custodian for each building and two junior custodians at Chelmsford High School. The new in-district staff will be responsible for daily operations. Contracted staff will work 2:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. for each specified day of the contract. …

Chelmsford school board leans toward hybrid custodial-service plan
Source: Robert Mills, Lowell Sun, January 5, 2016

The Chelmsford School Committee took a first step toward returning some, or perhaps even all, of the School Department’s custodians to its payroll Tuesday night due to dissatisfaction with the work of an outside contractor. The committee voted unanimously to authorize Superintendent Jay Lang to prepare a request for proposals from companies that would provide contracted custodians for each of the town’s schools, with those contract custodians working under supervisors employed by the School Department. That leaves the board with the option of eventually choosing a hybrid system of contractors being supervised by in-house employees, or a system in which all custodians are in-house employees. …

Chelmsford school board to take up custodial services
Source: Alana Melanson, Lowell Sun, January 5, 2016

The contract for Aramark, which has provided custodial services for the School Department since it outsourced in 2011, ends on June 30. Since the company was hired, four of its employees have been arrested for alleged thefts from the schools, staff and students, and one of its contractors was arrested on drug charges. In addition to the thefts, many have expressed dissatisfaction with the level of cleanliness in the schools. School Committee Secretary Evelyn Thoren said Lang will present the committee with three options:

  • Continue outsourcing and issue another request for proposals from vendors, cost currently unknown;
  • Bring the custodians completely back in-house, at an estimated $780,000 in personnel costs per year;
  • Create a hybrid of the two, at an estimated annual cost of $362,000 for in-house personnel and an unknown amount for contracted services.

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Campus sheds light on rationale for insourcing formerly subcontracted workers

Source: Ericka Shin, The Daily Californian, March 30, 2016

The campus already had plans in the works to insource or fill vacant positions for at least 55 custodians prior to the recent agreement, but the March 18 decision has resulted in the campus offering jobs to an additional 14 custodians and 24 parking attendants, according to an email from Mogulof. Among these newly insourced employees are the 69 workers employed by ABM, PerformanceFirst and LAZ Parking who are being officially insourced as UC employees, according to Kristian Kim, a member of the campus’s Student Labor Committee. The agreement also stipulates that the campus will not contract out regularized parking or custodial work through June 30, 2017, Mogulof said in an email.

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UC Berkeley Agrees to Hire Subcontracted Workers After Threats of Boycott
Source: Josh Lefler, The Guardian, March 27, 2016

The University of California hires at least 45 different private companies to fill staffing positions across the UC campuses in the areas of custodial work, food services, landscaping, security, parking and more, according to an AFSCME 3299 report. The same report concluded that these workers are paid as little as 53 percent less than workers who are employed directly by the University of California and do not receive the same benefits. The nearly 100 subcontracted workers, who were just recently hired by the university, were described as having “more than 440 years of combined experience working at UC Berkeley,” but were paid below the wage of an official UC employee, according to Stenhouse.

UC Berkeley reaches labor agreement on contract workers
Source: Tom Lochner, Contra Costa Times, March 18, 2016

UC Berkeley, in what one of its unions hailed as a “historic victory for contract workers,” has agreed to offer direct employment to all regular night shift and athletics custodians currently working at the institution through private contractors, the university announced Friday. As part of the agreement, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 will end its “speakers boycott,” the university said. Under the boycott, AFSCME objected to speakers with engagements at the campus. … The union said 93 custodial and parking workers fall under the agreement. The university said it will offer to hire all campus stack parking attendants currently employed through LAZ Parking. …

Subcontracted campus workers insourced as UC employees, ending speakers’ boycott
Source: Adrienne Shih, The Daily Californian, March 18, 2016

After nearly seven months of campaigning, 69 previously subcontracted workers have officially been insourced as UC employees, ending an ongoing campus speakers’ boycott. The workers — employed by ABM, PerformanceFirst and LAZ Parking — were previously a part of the University of California’s two-tier employment policy. The campus employs some individuals directly, or in-house, while others who do temporary or seasonal work are employed as subcontracted workers, receiving reduced pay and fewer benefits than their directly employed counterparts.
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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. …

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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.
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Superbugs vs. Outsourced Cleaners: Employment Arrangements and the Spread of Healthcare-Associated Infections

Source: Adam Seth Litwin, Ariel C. Avgar, Edmund R. Becker, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Forthcoming, February 24, 2016

Abstract:

On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients in the U.S. has a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) that the patient contracts as a direct result of his or her treatment. Fortunately, the spread of most HAIs can be halted through proper disinfection of surfaces and equipment. Consequently, cleaners — “environmental services” (EVS) in hospital parlance — must take on the important task of defending hospital patients (as well as employees and the broader community) from the spread of HAIs. Nevertheless, despite the importance of this task, hospitals frequently outsource this function, increasing the likelihood that these workers are under-rewarded, undertrained, and detached from the organization and the rest of the care team. As a result, the outsourcing of EVS workers could have the unintended consequence of increasing the incidence of HAIs. We demonstrate this relationship empirically, finding support for our theory by using a self-constructed dataset that marries infection data to structural, organizational, and workforce features of California’s general acute care hospitals. The study thus advances the literature on nonstandard work arrangements — outsourcing, in particular — while sounding a cautionary note to hospital administrators and healthcare policymakers.