Category Archives: Custodial

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. …

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.

Colleges can’t rule out outsourcing yet, officials say

Source: Adam Tamburin, The Tennessean, January 19, 2016

Days after the head of Tennessee’s community and technical colleges announced those institutions would not outsource management of their facilities, leading members of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Cabinet said it was too soon to accept that decision. …


Editorial: Big questions still unanswered on Haslam’s privatization push
Source: The Commercial Appeal, January 17, 2016

We have said several times in this space that government should not be a job-creator. Finding efficiencies that save taxpayer dollars, while not adversely impacting the delivery of services, should always be the goal. From that standpoint, Haslam is on target. Outsourcing, though, is not without a human cost. Employees usually lose jobs. Those who are rehired by the private service providers usually see a decrease in wages and benefits. They lose spending power, for example, which could impact the state’s sales tax collections. It also means that these employees have less income to invest in their families and the organizations they support. … The big questions that need to be answered is whether the savings will justify the potential upheaval of employees and, if so, what does the administration plan to do with the savings? Will the money be used to mitigate the annual hike in college tuition? Increase public school funding? That is what the “business justification” report needs to make clear.

Haslam official: “Premature” for community colleges to be removed from outsourcing project
Source: Richard Locker, The Commercial Appeal, January 13, 2016

Gov. Bill Haslam’s top finance assistant, Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin, says he believes it’s “premature” for Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan to remove community colleges and colleges of applied technology from the governor’s facilities management outsourcing project. Martin said Tuesday that he believes such a decision should be made after the administration’s “business justification” for outsourcing is finished. That document — detailing cost savings the administration expects from outsourcing — will be completed by mid-February, architects of the outsourcing project told state legislators Tuesday. … Morgan’s letter also detailed a list of concerns he has with the overall outsourcing project as it relates to higher education institutions — particularly with regard to protecting building maintenance employees, with control over a campus’s buildings and grounds, and with defining precisely what services a building contractor will perform under the contract.

Tennessee’s Landlords Find Hidden Costs of Privatization
Source: Sam Stockard, The Memphis Daily News, November 12, 2015

Murfreesboro businessman Tom Hyde felt the sting of Tennessee’s privatization practices two years ago when a representative of Jones Lang Lasalle notified him he would have to pay the company a commission as part of his next lease agreement. … Tennessee’s contract with JLL for facilities management, which jumped from $1 million to $10 million to oversee about 10 percent of the state’s property, has come under the most criticism, especially as Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration studies more outsourcing. … Tennessee’s contract with JLL did not go through legislators on the Fiscal Review Committee but was vetted instead by the State Building Commission. It’s made up of Gov. Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, House Speaker Beth Harwell and constitutional officers. Sen. Bill Ketron, who co-chairs the Fiscal Review Committee, said it has “no knowledge of what communications were made between the state and landlords prior to the awarding of the contract.”

Fearful UTC workers question cost savings of outsourcing
Source: Andy Sher, Times Free Press, November 4, 2015

Her comments came as she and other University of Tennessee at Chattanooga workers, ranging from maintenance workers to facilities management engineers, described their commitment both to their jobs and the campus community during a fact-finding session hosted at the university by three Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga. About 60 UTC workers, students, community supporters and United Campus Workers officials showed up for the session, the second campus stop of a statewide tour by Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, and Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville. … Some two-thirds of state workers involved in facilities management under the Department of General Services lost their jobs when Chicago-based real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle took over. Haslam says the state saved $12.9 million over a two-year period, but critics note the governor’s administration and Jones Lang LaSalle touted even higher savings. Critics also question whether the cost comparisons are valid.

TN Senate Democrats holding outsourcing hearing at UTC on Tuesday
Source: Times Free Press, November 2, 2015

State Democratic lawmakers will bring their continuing series of fact-finding hearings on state privatization efforts to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Tuesday as they hold seek comments from campus employees, students and faculty on the effects of outsourcing additional state jobs. … Lawmakers will hear from the United Campus Workers, the Tennessee State Employees Association, UT Chattanooga College Democrats and Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM).

Tennessee workers protest any Haslam privatization plan
Source: Dave Boucher, The Tennessean, October 30, 2015

Roughly 45 people joined McDaniel in Nashville on Friday to protest any move by Gov. Bill Haslam to outsource state jobs on a broader scale. The protesters, organized by state higher education employee union United Campus Workers, delivered petitions with 6,368 signatures of Tennesseans who oppose any expanded outsourcing. … Right now about 10 percent of the state’s square footage is maintained by Chicago-based JLL. The administration and supporters argue the move helped the state avoid roughly $13 million in maintenance costs in two years, but opponents argue the state is gaming the numbers and any expansion of the program will mean cuts to wages and benefits for state employees.
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UC Berkeley Workers, Students Say University’s Subcontracted Campus Jobs Mean Poverty Wages

Source: Mario Vasquez, In These Times, December 10, 2016

Twenty-two student protesters were arrested on December 3 after staging a two-hour occupation of the central administration offices at the University of California, Berkeley. The protesters, 50 members of a campus-based organization called the Student Labor Committee, stormed California Hall, where school head Chancellor Nicholas Dirks is headquartered, and sat down in the office lobby demanding living wages and benefits for workers employed by private contractors on campus. The practice of outsourcing, mostly with workers from communities of colors in the Bay Area, is detrimental both to those workers and campus workers directly hired by the university, according to campaign advocates. AFSCME Local 3299, the system’s largest employee union, said in August that UC management currently holds contracts with “at least 45 private contractors employing thousands of subcontractors who perform the same work as career UC employees—such as custodians, security officers, parking attendants, and food service workers.”


“Our tuition dollars fund racism and injustice”: California students protest university labor outsourcing
Source: Ben Norton, Salon, December 3, 2015

More than 50 students are staging a sit-in in the office of University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks. The protest, which was organized by the school’s Student Labor Committee (SLC), is calling for an end to university labor outsourcing and exploitation. Custodial workers and parking attendants at UC Berkeley are subcontracted to the companies Performance First Building Services, American Building Management (ABM), and LAZ Parking. One of these contractors, Performance First, is under federal investigation by the Department of Labor for alleged rights violations. In a report by the Los Angeles Times, subcontracted UC Berkeley workers said that, during sports events, they sometimes work 80- or 90-hour weeks and are denied overtime pay…..

UC Berkeley students arrested after sit-in over contract worker paySource: Kate Murphy, Contra Costa Times, December 3, 2015

tudents protesting the pay and treatment of subcontracted custodians and parking attendants — including some who work for a contractor under federal investigation — staged a sit-in Thursday at California Hall, home to the campus chancellor’s office. “A broad coalition of students demands that their tuition dollars no longer fund racism and injustice at the UC,” the Student Labor Committee, which organized the protest, said in a statement. The group maintains that the workers — who typically earn less than UC employees doing similar jobs — were “exclusively people of color.” A few dozen students chanted and danced in the lobby as AFSCME 3299 workers rallied outside.

Workers, students call for insourcing of all subcontracted workers on campus
Source: Melissa Wen, The Daily Californian, August 31, 2015

Several dozen students, workers and community members marched to various locations on campus and in the city Monday, delivering petitions calling for the insourcing of all subcontracted employees at UC Berkeley. The action was the result of organization among employees of ABM, Performance First Building Services and LAZ Parking — three companies that contract with the campus. The workers said that as subcontracted employees, they receive significantly less pay than UC workers performing equivalent work — a problem they hoped would be solved by being brought in as UC employees. … The group then went to the offices of UC Berkeley Parking and Transportation and Athletic Department administrators, in addition to seeking out Ali Mansour, who manages campus custodial workers. Their last stop was near International House, where a First Performance manager drove out to speak with them.

Demonstrators sing in California Hall to protest UC Berkeley’s use of contract workers
Source: Melissa Wen, Daily Californian, July 8, 2015

Students, workers demand community benefits agreement for Richmond Bay Campus Demonstrators performed a song and dance inside California Hall on Tuesday, calling out the administration for being “super cheap” and marking the start of a new campaign for the campus to create more union jobs instead of hiring contract workers. At about noon, a group of about a dozen students and workers combined gathered before the doors of Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ office, carrying a letter and a cake decorated with the phrase: “I don’t always pay fair wages, but when I do it’s in Berkeley and Richmond.” They sang an original song, based on the song “Super Freak,” with lyrics criticizing the administrators for treating workers unfairly…… The protest kicked off increased efforts against the university’s contracting out of services, a practice that has been criticized because contract workers often have fewer protections than UC workers. The university maintains, though, that hiring a mix of contract and UC workers allows “maximizing efficiency within resource constraints,” as UC Legislative Director Jason Murphy wrote in a letter to state legislators…. The UC contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union prohibits UC campuses from contracting out only because of the savings resulting from paying lower wages and benefits for services normally performed by AFSCME workers…..

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.

Opinion: House cleaning in Chelmsford
Source: The Lowell Sun, October 20, 2015

Since the School Department privatized custodians in 2011, three other Aramark employees have been charged with stealing school, staff and students’ property, including computers, credit cards, and prescription medication. According to School Committee Chairman Al Thomas, Aramark’s contract expires on June 30, the end of the fiscal year. Thomas told The Sun the schools are looking at other options. … We see this as an opportunity for new School Superintendent Jay Lang to demonstrate the money-management skills for which he was known in Lowell. And that could include returning the task of cleaning — not cleaning out — its schools to town employees. We trust the town’s vetting process would preclude janitors from partaking in the type of illegal activity alleged here.

Another janitor arrested in theft at a Chelmsford school
Source: Alana Melanson, Lowell Sun, October 17, 2015

Another Aramark custodian at Chelmsford High School has been charged with theft after a month-long investigation into missing cafeteria funds, police said. … According to School Committee Chairman Al Thomas, another Aramark employee who allegedly acted as a lookout for Ramos was not charged but was also removed from the school. On Sept. 29, a school administrator reported to police that someone had been stealing money from the cafeteria cash drawer for several weeks, police said. Cafeteria staff place the cash drawer in a locked closet after every shift. There were several occasions where employees noticed the drawer was not balanced at the start of the morning shift.
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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.


Nashua bargaining agreement to be reviewed
Source: Kimberly Houghton, New Hampshire Union-Leader, December 8, 2015

As the Board of Education continues to pursue privatizing the school district’s custodial work and placing 101 jobs in jeopardy, two aldermen say they will not support raises for any school employees while the custodians could lose their jobs. Last week, the aldermanic Budget Review Committee recommended rejecting a proposed bargaining agreement that would have provided new salary wages for 78 school secretaries.

New Nashua alderman: Stop privatization talks, start talking to custodial union
Source: Kimberly Houghton, Union Leader, November 15, 2015

Alderman-elect Ben Clemons suggested to school officials this week that they stop exploring privatization and instead begin negotiating with the district’s custodial union. On Thursday, the day the Board of Education appointed a committee to review proposals and qualifications to potentially hire a private cleaning crew, Clemons told the Board of Education that now is the time to stop discussions on privatization. … In an effort to save money, the Board of Education voted several weeks ago to terminate its contract with the custodial union, Local 365/Council 93 AFSCME, on June 30, 2016. Although 101 school district custodians may be without jobs next summer if the board hires a private firm for cleaning services, the local union still has some future options, according to James Durkin, legislative counsel for the group.

Union Activists: Give Laid-off Nashua School Custodians Their Jobs Back
Source: Jason Claffey, Nashua Patch, October 6, 2015

Union activists are demanding that Nashua school officials reverse its decision to fire 101 custodians. The Nashua Board of Education last month voted 7-1 to end its contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents the Nashua custodial workers. The board said they are looking to hire a private cleaning company instead. … The Nashua Labor Coalition balked at the move. Chairwoman Deb Howes said the board should have gathered more input from the community before making its decision.

Nashua custodians protest board of education privatization proposal
Source: Adam Sexton, WMUR, September 29, 2015

Union members in Nashua turned out in force Monday night to rally against the proposal to privatize the district’s custodial staff. On top of layoffs, more than 100 custodians are upset that the school board decided to proceed with the plan behind closed doors. The first that custodians learned of the proposal was when they received a written notice in their paycheck. … The Nashua Board of Education approved exploring the idea of laying off the district’s custodians earlier this month in a closed-door meeting with no notice.

Nashua Custodial Staff Could be Laid Off By School District
Source: Ted Siefer, New Hampshire Public Radio, September 28, 2015

Custodians in Nashua and their supporters are expected to hold a rally Monday evening ahead of a school board meeting to protest the board’s decision to end their union contract. … About 100 custodians could be out of a job at the end current school year if the district follows through with the decision.  That of course is a big concern for the workers and their union, AFSME Council 93 — but in the eyes of Jim Durkin, the union’s political affairs director, there’s another concern: who would replace the laid-off janitors. … Finances aside, Durkin insisted that officials need to seriously consider the risks of outsourcing labor, especially in schools. He points to several reported cases of misconduct by employees of a custodial contractor in the Massachusetts town of Chelmsford — including one who was arrested for stealing computers from a school.

Nashua school board votes to replace union custodians with private company, September 20, 2015

The city’s board of education has decided to hire a private company for custodial work starting in next July, a move expected to put more than 100 unionized custodians will be out of work. … The district is midway through a contract with the union, and the 101 positions will remain through June 30, 2016. The school board will issue a request for proposals from outside cleaning companies to assume custodial duties as of July 1, 2016

Unions react to school board decision
Source: Tina Forbes, The Nashua Telegraph, September 22, 2015

Union officials and Nashua teachers reacted Monday to the Nashua Board of Education’s surprise announcement last week it would not continue a contract with union representing more than 100 custodians’ at the end of the school year. Jim Durkin, communications director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees of Council 93, which includes AFSCME units in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont, said the union had no word from the school board prior to the vote on Wednesday. …

SPS will no longer outsource custodial services

Source: Claudette Riley, Springfield News-Leader, November 18, 2015

Custodians who clean the buildings owned by Springfield Public Schools will once again be managed by district employees. For nearly two decades, Missouri’s largest district has contracted with a company — initially ServiceMaster and, since 2001, Aramark — to order its cleaning supplies and manage its custodial crews. That will change Feb. 1. Carol Embree, chief financial and operations officer, told the school board this week. … There are 178 custodians and five supervisors employed by the district, but they answer to Aramark employees. This fall, the district received written proposals from four companies including Aramark interested in providing the custodial oversight. Embree said a committee reviewed the district’s custodial needs and the proposals — which ranged from $426,000 to $659,000 a year — and concluded the work would be better done “in house.” Embree said outsourcing custodial management is fairly rare in Missouri. She checked with 20 other districts and only two contracted with a company to provide the oversight.

South Africa: UCT Signs Historic Agreement to Insource Services

Source: All Africa, October 29, 2015

The University of Cape Town (UCT) signed an historic agreement with the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) on Wednesday to insource six of its outsourced services. Cleaning of residences (Metro), cleaning of university buildings (Supercare), catering in student residences (C3), grounds and gardening services (Turfworks), campus protection services (G4S) and student and staff transport services (Sibanye) will now be insourced after the current (in brackets) lease agreements expire. This follows weeks of protests around student fee increases, which resulted in a 0% deal announced by President Jacob Zuma last Friday. UCT student also protested about unfair working conditions, pushing for the insourcing of these services. UCT vice chancellor Max Price and Nehawu chairperson Mzomhle Bixa said in a joint statement on Thursday that the services will be insourced as each of the contracts terminates.

One item completed on county privatization list

Source: Gary Pinnell, Highlands Today, October 28, 2015

Nineteen months after commissioners agreed to privatize 10 Highlands County functions, they’re still months away from completing the second item. The top-ten list that came out of the March 2, 2014 goal-setting workshop included transferring EMS to private ambulance companies, recycling, legal services, fleet maintenance, real estate surveying, Healthy Families and janitorial. Contracting with a company to clean county buildings is now off the table. … Handley doesn’t think privatizing the landfill will happen, though. … In a report to commissioners last week, County Administrator June Fisher said EMS revenues and expenditures have been reviewed. “We’re still waiting on a needs assessment,” Elwell said. The final report will disclose options for EMS and the volunteer fire departments to combine. “Maybe we could move toward fire-rescue, and have one crew instead of two, with cross-trained personnel.” … “I don’t think EMS will be privatized,” Richie said. … Commissioners un-privatized the county attorney. Ross Macbeth was a part-timer who ran a private practice and contracted with the county. But during one three-year period, he billed $1 million, and the commissioners saw a cost-saving opportunity. As of Oct. 1, Macbeth has moved into a county office, and hired a secretary and assistant attorney, both to be paid by the county. … County staff visited a county library in Sumter County that had been privatized. “The staff met them, and they said they would not recommend it. It’s a different situation, and the people they met with didn’t recommend it.”