Category Archives: Custodial

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…..
After outsourcing jobs, Volusia reviews school cleanliness
Source: Annie Martin,, 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,, 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,, 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,, 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,, 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,, 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.
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.”…

Queens Library to end custodial contracting

Source: Public Employee Press, Vol. 60 no. 10, December 2014

Queens Borough Public Library announced Oct. 23 that it will no longer use outside custodians — a victory for the union, which has long fought farming out work to private firms — and a possible sign of improving labor relations at the library. QBPL said it will end its contract with the Busy Bee cleaning company in December, eliminate the remaining contracted custodians in June, and replace the contracted workers with union custodians. The library has about 70 unionized custodians. It had many more before 2008, when it stopped hiring custodians and began shrinking the in-house staff through attrition. In 2013, QBPL decided to hire contract custodians rather than union custodians, even though its budget had stabilized. The library will use $2.8 million in additional funding that the City Council restored earlier this year to hire 16 new full-time custodians and 19 clerical workers….

Memphis Campus Temps Outwit Scheme to Privatize Their Social Security

Source: Steve Payne and Jeffrey Lichtenstein, Labor Notes, January 8, 2015

Though we don’t have a union contract, workers at the University of Memphis last month took quick action and backed management off its plan to privatize our Social Security—for now, anyway. The university made the announcement December 12: on just a week’s notice, almost 2,000 temporary workers, including one of the authors of this article, would be laid off. We could reapply in hopes of getting our jobs back. The affected workers included many long-term temps, such as people working as data and lab techs, custodians and groundskeepers, and lots of adjunct faculty. …. Public employees are denied our right to bargain in Tennessee, but that hasn’t stopped us from organizing. … The mass layoff was part of a new temporary employee policy. If rehired, we would be no longer participate in Social Security. Instead, we would be enrolled in a “FICA alternative plan.” ….. It turns out that Congress created this type of plan for public employers in 1990, overturning previous regulations that had ensured that public employees could not be exempted from Social Security. These FICA alternative plans can only affect temporary seasonal workers in new positions, which is why the university had to fire and rehire us. They’re used by various public entities, particularly in the South….

Union disputes custodial outsourcing at School District of Lancaster

Source: Kara Newhouse, Lancaster Online, December 15, 2014

Custodial and grounds employees at the School District of Lancaster are challenging the school board’s decision to outsource their jobs starting in January. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, which represents the district’s support staff, voted on Dec. 5 to reject the terms of the district’s outsourcing plan, according to an AFSCME official. The union also filed a grievance that disputes the outsourcing decision based on terms in the employee contract that expires in June 2016. The city school board voted in November to outsource 94 custodial and grounds positions to GCA Services Group, of Ohio. The $9.7 million contract begins Jan. 1, 2015 and ends June 30, 2016….
City school custodians outsourced; jobs offered at contracted company
Source: Kara Newhouse, Lancaster Online, November 18, 2014

School District of Lancaster custodians will keep their current wages if they move to an contracted company, according to district officials. The school board voted Tuesday night to outsource 94 custodial and grounds positions to GCA Services Group, of Ohio. The $9.7 million contract begins Jan. 1, 2015 and ends June 30, 2016. ….The savings primarily come from the elimination of the pension costs. Support staff at public schools in Pennsylvania get retirement benefits through the Public School Employee Retirement System. ….

SDL custodians in limbo amid outsourcing negotiations
Source: Kara Newhouse, Lancaster Online, October 20, 2014

In June, the SDL board approved a 2014-15 budget that relies on $500,000 in savings from outsourcing 94 custodial and grounds crew members. It was one of several measures taken to fill a $7.7-million deficit. But two months into the school year, the board still hasn’t approved an outsourcing contract — leaving workers in employment limbo. … To move forward with outsourcing, the district must prove that it would save money and provide the same or higher level of service, said Michael Fox, a representative of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, which represents SDL support staff.

SDL board plans to outsource custodians, raise taxes
Source: Kara Newhouse, Lancaster Online, May 20, 2014

The School District of Lancaster board on Tuesday approved a proposed final budget that would outsource 100 custodial and grounds positions, among other cuts. … The outsourcing of custodial and grounds crews is projected to save the district $500,000, primarily from reduced pension and health care costs, according to Chief Financial and Operations Officer Matthew Przywara. The board previously directed administrators to explore outsourcing support staff positions through attrition, which requires union approval….

SDL execs, employees clash over outsourcing
Source: Kara Newhouse, Lancaster Online, April 15, 2014

School District of Lancaster officials and support staff members played a game of “he said, she said” over possible outsourcing at a board meeting on Tuesday. Board president Stacey Marten and Superintendent Pedro Rivera stressed that the board is considering outsourcing only vacant positions, but support staff who are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said they were told the district intended to outsource all positions. The school board previously directed administrators to meet with AFSCME representatives to discuss outsourcing vacant positions. That meeting occurred March 27. AFSCME’s district council director Michael Fox said at the board meeting Tuesday that AFSCME agreed to take to its members a proposal to outsource vacant custodial, maintenance and health room technician jobs if no other outsourcing would be considered….

Grosvenor Building Services Awarded Custodial Contract by the Florida Department of Management Services

Source: Grosvenor Building Service, Press release via Marketwired, November 28, 2014

Grosvenor Building Services, one of the first building services providers in Florida to have achieved CIMS-certification and to deliver green and sustainable cleaning programs, has announced that it was recently awarded a $4.5 million contract by the Florida Department of Management Services. The five-year contract calls for Grosvenor Building Services to provide custodial services for various state-owned facilities in both North and South Florida.

The company, responding to a Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) Invitation to Negotiate (ITN), was evaluated based on company qualifications, approach to the project and pricing. Initially providing services to DMS Region 3, Grosvenor Building Services has expanded its coverage in other regions of the state, including Region 2 (Tallahassee) and Region 5 (South Florida). The agreement also provides the possibility of a five-year renewal. Currently Grosvenor cleans more than 4 million square feet of DMS-managed facilities on a daily basis.

DMS is also in the process of evaluating this contract for approval as an alternate contract source, which would allow other agencies to “piggy back” on this agreement….

ABM Secures Contract With Ohio School District

Source: Cleaning & Maintenance Management, CM e-News Daily, November 26, 2014

ABM Facility Services has secured a contract with the Perrysburg Exempted Village School District in Perrysburg, OH, to implement a district-wide energy and facility improvement project…. The deal is expected to save the school district more than US$4.9 million in energy and operating costs over the next 15 years based on current energy prices. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.
ABM to Provide Minimum Expected Savings of $4.9 Million for Perrysburg, OH Schools /Perrysburg School District to Benefit From State’s Energy Conservation Program
Source: ABM Industries Incorporated, Press Release via Globe Newswire, November 20, 2014

ABM, a leading provider of facility solutions, announced its ABM Building Solutions business has been selected by Perrysburg Exempted Village School District in Perrysburg, Ohio to implement district-wide, comprehensive infrastructure improvements through ABM’s Bundled Energy Solutions program. The customized solution developed by ABM will provide energy efficient upgrades and facility enhancements to each of the six schools within the district. The project, which began in October 2013, was completed earlier this month and provides Perrysburg with minimum expected savings of $4.9 million in energy and operating costs over a 15-year period….Under the contract, ABM will provide facility improvements to the school district’s six schools, administration, maintenance and transportation buildings. The upgrades include installing building envelope improvements, lighting enhancements, occupancy sensors, HVAC equipment and chiller retro-commissioning, control upgrades and water conservation methods. In addition, existing boilers with low operating hours were moved from Frank Elementary and Perrysburg Junior High to Ft. Meigs Elementary and Toth Elementary….

Opinion: DOT’s math on privatization adds up to ‘no deal’

Source: Ledger-Enquirer, September 22, 2014

….This much is unarguable: If “privatizing,” as the term has been coined, costs more than the government function cost taxpayers in the first place, then it’s a bad idea no matter what function we’re talking about. That, apparently, is the case with the Georgia Department of Transportation — or rather, would have been the case if a DOT committee hadn’t done its homework. The department was considering a contract for janitorial and other services at highway welcome centers and rest areas. The DOT sent out a request for proposals, and received two bids, one for $37.7 million and the other for $36.5 million. Except that, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Transportation Board’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) Committee determined that the DOT could employ people to do the same work for $27.8 million….

Janitorial firm fined for wage gaffe

Source: Katie Johnston, Boston Globe, September 17, 2014

An East Boston janitorial company has been ordered by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to pay more than $750,000 for unlawfully deducting wages from workers’ paychecks at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority facilities in Boston. Between March 2012 and September 2013, Star Service Corp., a subcontractor of janitorial provider ABM, took more than $959,000 out of 160 workers’ checks for health, pension, and welfare fund benefits but never contributed to the funds, according to the attorney general’s investigation. Under state law, cleaning and maintenance workers at buildings owned or rented by the Commonwealth can receive wages that include pension and health fund deductions, but if no payments are made to those funds, the money must go to the worker. …