Category Archives: Custodial

Detroit water department lays off all building maintenance workers

Source: James Brewer, World Socialist Web Site, April 7, 2015

In an unpublicized move, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) is laying off 35 building maintenance workers and replacing them with commercially contracted janitorial services. A notification dated March 23 was sent to DWSD employees informing workers of the change, effective Monday, April 6, 2015. …The DWSD has been preparing the transition to the newly created Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) since early 2014 under what it calls its “Optimization Plan.” When the new entity comes into effect in July of this year, most of the employees of the DWSD will become GLWA employees and will be handed over to a new local union, which has already signed a five-year contract with the GLWA. Last year, all DWSD employees were instructed to reapply for their own jobs in preparation for the reorganization of the department. The creation of the GLWA was a product of the forced bankruptcy of Detroit as part of an effort to monetize this extremely valuable asset of the city and move toward its transformation into a profit-making operation. The creation of the GLWA was part of an end run around the Detroit City Charter, which had contained certain safeguards against the privatization of the water department….

Custodian sues Troy School District after injuring hand in snow blower

Source: Dave Phillips, Oakland Press, April 3, 2015

A Troy School District employee is suing the district after catching her hand in a snow blower, causing permanent damage. Mary Jane Ballard filed the suit last month against the district, unidentified school district employees and Enviro Clean Services. …. Ballard attempted to use a Honda snowblower but the right auger clutch failed to disengage. While clearing snow around 5 a.m., “the snow blower almost severed the fingers of … Ballard’s right hand and caused severe and permanent injury and pain and suffering to (her) right hand and fingers,” the lawsuit states. The suit accuses Ballard’s employer, Enviro Clean Services, of failing to train her on how to safely use the snow blower. The company and/or the school district knew that the snow blower needed to be repaired, the lawsuit states. It was repaired after Ballard was injured….

2014 Michigan School Privatization Survey

Source: James M. Hohman and Zachary Woodman, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, ISBN: 978-1-890624-37-8, 2014

From the summary:
The growth of school support service privatization has slowed. The 2014 survey shows that the percentage of school districts that contract out for food, custodial or transportation services increased just 0.4 percentage points, the smallest growth recorded since the survey began. Each service, however, increased and satisfaction with contracting remains high.

Contents:
Introduction
Method
2014 Survey Results
Food Service
Custodial Services
Transportation
Insourcing
Satisfaction
Appendix A: Revisions to Previous Publications
Appendix B: Map of Survey Findings by School District

As CTU and Chuy Garcia Endorse $15/hr Contract Demand, Fight for 15 Goes Beyond Fast Food

Source: David Moberg, In These Times, Working in These Times blog, March 25, 2015

The Fight for 15 and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) have joined together to demand that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) employees should earn at least $15 an hour, including contract workers such as the janitors provided by Aramark in a controversial privatization of school sanitation that has provoked protests by public school principals….The CTU announced it would include a demand for all CPS employees to receive a $15 per hour minimum wage in their contract proposal to the Chicago Board of Education. The proposed language reads: “The CTU will require the BOARD to report which employees do not earn at least a $15/hour minimum wage and to then require that all CTU members must earn at least $15/hr. and that all CPS subcontractors must earn at least $15/hr. and/or that all CPS employees must earn at least $15/hr.”…

CPS group rips ‘Magic’ custodian deal, contributions to Emanuel campaign

Source: Juan Perez Jr. and Cynthia Dizikes Chicago Tribune, March 19, 2015

Te head of a Chicago Public Schools principals’ group again condemned privatized school custodian contracts Thursday, including an $80 million deal connected to NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, another of whose firms has since donated $250,000 to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s campaign…. Principals and teachers have long complained about school cleanliness since the Emanuel-appointed school board overhauled how schools are cleaned with $340 million in custodial contracts awarded to the Aramark and SodexoMAGIC firms. SodexoMAGIC, one of Johnson’s companies, received an $80 million contract last year to conduct a trial program to take over custodial and facilities management services for a select group of CPS buildings. The administration said they’ve told the company to fix the problems….

Related:
Rahm to Aramark: Clean up the schools or clean out your desks
Source: Lauren FitzPatrick and Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, September 16, 2014

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….

Florence school district considers privatizing custodial staff

Source: Sharon Lurye, Burlington County Times, March 22, 2015

The school board is scheduled to vote Monday night on a contract with a private company for a custodial staff, leading to fears that the school district’s unionized staff will be fired and replaced with subcontractors. … The Florence Board of Education will vote on whether to award a contract worth $322,381 to Pritchard Industries of Florham Park for night custodial services from July 2015 to June 2017. …

Sodexo comes under fire at Middletown school board meeting

Source: Brian Zahn, Middletown Press, March 12, 2015

Members of the Board of Education authorized Superintendent Patricia Charles to find a disinterested party to conduct an independent review of how much the facilities management company Sodexo is saving the school district Tuesday. …. Thibodeau also referenced a Jan. 6 incident in which Woodrow Wilson Middle School cafeteria workers reported a gas odor in the morning, and Sodexo facilities management director Judy Yoder ordered employees to continue working, which he believes put the employees and students’ lives at risk. Woodrow Wilson building Superintendent Denise Privott also told the board that the savings Sodexo approved for things such as garbage bags and cleaning supplies provided her with low-quality equipment that made custodial work excessively difficult….
Related:
Middletown Union Objects To School District Outsourcing
Source: Shawn R. Beals, Hartford Courant, May 2, 2014

The city employee union said it objects to the board of education’s outsourcing of cafeteria and facilities management. The board approved hiring Sodexo, a Maryland-based national company, about a year ago in an attempt to stop yearly deficits from the school cafeterias. The contract did not include layoffs, but replaced the facilities director and food service director, who both took an early retirement incentive offer. …. Union officials say they remain unconvinced about the benefits of outsourcing local operations. “It’s very easy to say it’s providing savings, but it’s a lot harder to prove,” said Larry Dorman, a spokesman for AFSCME Council 4, the parent union for Middletown Local 466. “These are complicated agreements so there definitely is a problem with transparency too.”

Plenty of complaints about Volusia schools

Source: Ashley D. Thomas, Daytona Times, February 12, 2015

Filthy classrooms, no soap or toilet tissue in bathrooms, roaches on the windowsills, long hours and that pesky pay issue were among the concerns brought by teachers to Tuesday’s meeting of the Volusia County School Board. …. Asked if the teachers are doing custodial work in their classroom/office, nearly 83 percent or 1,310 respondents said yes and 256 said no…. The school board decided in 2013 to outsource custodial services to Aramark Services, reducing the county’s expenses by about $6 million annually. Emails, photos and those speaking to the board tried to indicate that Aramark is not holding up its end of the contract…..
Related:
After outsourcing jobs, Volusia reviews school cleanliness
Source: Annie Martin, News-JournalOnline.com, June 2, 2014

Volusia County School Board members say they’ve heard complaints ranging from reeking restrooms to floors that aren’t shiny from school employees this year since the county outsourced custodial services to Aramark Services. … The company picked up 357 former district employees last summer, though 122 have since quit, retired or taken other jobs within the district. Aramark has 394 full-time and part-time employees now, while the district employed 484 custodial workers at the time the Aramark deal was announced. Employees from across the district have complained about cockroaches and trash left for several days, said Laura Cloer, the president of Volusia Educational Support Association. She said her administrators’ requests for Aramark to clean the campus more thoroughly haven’t been granted… She dismissed claims by some — including recent complaints from the union that the in-house employees belonged to — that the company treats workers poorly. …Flanagan said she didn’t think Aramark should consider a rebate because they’re following the terms spelled out in their contract….

Union complains about Volusia school cleanliness
Source: Annie Martin, News-JournalOnline.com, May 13, 2014

….But the district’s schools have received fewer unsatisfactory inspections from the Volusia County Health Department than last year. District schools received a total of 16 unsatisfactory marks this school year. That’s down from 22 last year, said Russ Tysinger, the maintenance and operations director for Volusia schools. Those inspections also touch areas that aren’t under the custodian’s control, he said, such as refrigerators that aren’t at the right temperatures and science lab chemicals that aren’t in the right places. Common reasons for unsatisfactory inspections this year included roaches and a lack of soap and paper towels in the restrooms. But employees think the schools are dirtier than they were last year, Cleary said. He distributed the results from a survey of 202 teachers and paraprofessionals. Three-quarters said there were fewer custodians at their schools than last year, while 70 percent reported the schools were “much worse” than last year. Tysinger said he’s heard more complaints from staff members about conditions in the schools. Prinicipals don’t feel they have as much control as they did before and employees must be more efficient. Aramark also relies more on part-time staff members, he said, and the custodians are using different techniques than they did before…..

Volusia school custodial services review set
Source: Linda Trimble, News-JournalOnline.com, December 8, 2013

The transition to outsourced custodial services in Volusia County schools — which were turned over to a private firm July 1 to save an estimated $6 million annually — is still a work in progress, the School Board will hear Tuesday in a report on how that program is working. … Based on district inspections of schools during the first few months of the contract with Aramark, the report concludes designated cleanliness levels are being maintained on average. The average score for formal inspections was 87 percent for the 37 randomly selected schools that were reviewed in that period, according to the report, with 85 percent considered passing. Seventy percent of the inspected schools scored above 85 percent, while the report said 30 percent scored below that level….

Volusia School Board to vote on outsourcing 30 groundskeeping jobs
Source: Linda Trimble, News-JournalOnline.com, June 9, 2013

The jobs of 30 groundskeepers who mow lawns at Volusia County schools and maintain their sports fields are next on the list to be turned over to a private company as the School Board looks for ways to plug a $19 million hole in its budget. The groundskeeping contract, up for board approval when the School Board meets Tuesday, comes on the heels of a decision two weeks ago to outsource 455 custodial jobs to Aramark Education Services of Philadelphia beginning July 1. That’s expected to save $30 million over the next five years. Superintendent Margaret Smith is recommending the board also approve a five-year contract with GCA Services Group of Cleveland to take over grounds maintenance services July 1. The firm was the lowest of five bidders with an annual price of $1.3 million. The school district now spends $2.1 million a year on grounds maintenance, including labor, equipment and supplies for mowing, trimming, fertilizing and weed and pest control. …

Volusia schools custodians would get shot at jobs if outsourcing falls through
Source: Linda Trimble, News-JournalOnline.com, March 11, 2013

Volusia County school custodians and grounds maintenance workers would have job recall rights if the School Board outsources their jobs as expected in July and decides within three years to abandon that plan. That’s a key provision of a tentative agreement reached Friday between negotiators for the School Board and the union that represents the 485 affected employees. The School Board will be asked to approve the agreement when it meets today.

485 blue-collar workers may be jobless
Source: Al Everson, West Volusia Beacon, February 18, 2013

After almost five hours of analytical presentations and impassioned remarks, the Volusia County School Board voted 3-2 to contract with private firms willing to take over work now done by its own custodians and maintenance personnel…. The School Board’s split vote is not the final move. It authorizes the school-district administration to issue request proposals from prospective contractors, who would make their best bids to take over janitorial work and grounds maintenance at schools and other buildings….

Volusia schools’ proposed outsourced salaries total nearly $18 million
Source: Linda Trimble, News-JournalOnline.com, February 8, 2013

Outsourcing custodial and grounds maintenance services could save the Volusia County School Board $17.8 million in employee salaries and benefits, but how much of that would be offset by having to pay a private firm to clean schools and mow lawns remains to be seen….Smith is proposing all custodial and grounds crew jobs be eliminated from the school district payroll and a private firm be hired effective July 1 to provide those services. That’s the equivalent of 485 full-time workers, with all but 30 of the jobs in custodial services….

…Published reports show Manatee County schools fired a custodial firm last year after complaints of substandard service. Flagler schools canceled a contract with a groundskeeping company five years ago to save money, and the district also lowered its standards for grounds maintenance when it brought the work back in-house….

Federal Legislation Targets School Bus Driver Backgrounds

Source: Ryan Gray, Student Transportation News, January 29, 2015

The Safety for Our Schoolchildren Act introduced earlier this month by Sen. David Vitter would instruct all states and school districts nationwide to obtain FBI background checks on all new applicants including school bus drivers. …. The Act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and would also cover administrators, teachers, substitute teachers, custodians, cafeteria workers or any employee of a subsidiary or contractor for districts…..

DMC Surgery Hospital remains closed; housekeeping outsourcing nearly settled

Source: Jay Greene, Crain’s Detroit Business, January 22, 2015

Detroit Medical Center’s Surgery Hospital in Madison Heights is still closed more than six months after a torrential rain flooded it along with much of Southeast Michigan. DMC officials still haven’t decided what to do with the shuttered hospital in which all the employees have either been laid off or transferred within the eight-hospital system. …. On DMC’s plan to outsource its environmental services department to Sodexo USA, Conrad Mallett Jr., DMC’s chief administrative officer, told Crain’s that negotiations are moving steadily and a final resolution is expected by Feb. 1. …. In October, U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn ruled that DMC needed to engage in arbitration with the housekeepers union – the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25 – before it signed a contract with Sodexo.
Related:
DMC workers protest hospital’s plan to outsource job
Source: Holly Fournier, The Detroit News, 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.”…