Category Archives: Custodial

School district considers privatizing custodial services

Source: Victoria Mitchell, C&G Newspapers, June 17, 2015

The Clawson Public Schools Board of Education began publicly discussing privatizing its custodial services last week in an attempt to save more than a quarter of a million dollars. …. The district’s 2015-16 budget projects a fund balance, like a rainy day bank account, of just below 2 percent of the $22 million general fund. The district’s goal is a minimum of 5 percent. …. The district employs 13 custodians covering 419,543 square feet of buildings and 20 acres of property. Clawson Public Schools has 1,750 students and is expected to drop to 1,700 students in the 2015-16 school year.
Privatization would result in layoffs of the current custodial staff….. Under the privatization plan, Clawson would hire GCA Services Group and receive the services of 21.5 custodians, including two full-time maintenance men and two dedicated groundskeepers….

Vote for the Privatization Scam of the Year award

Source: National Union of Public and General Employees Ottawa, June 15, 2015

Almost all privatization deals are bad news for the public. The profit motive leads to higher costs, reduced services, and a whole lot of sleaze. Privatization Scam of the Year Awards shows link between privatization and sleaze The Privatization Scam of the Year Awards draw attention to the profiteering, lower standards and outright corruption that come with privatization. …

…The nominees for the 2014 “Scammie” are:
• Ontario’s P3 privatizations schemes that added $8 billion to the cost of public infrastructure
• British Columbia’s replacement of home care professionals with unpaid volunteers
• New Brunswick’s secret negotiations to privatize food and cleaning services in hospitals
• Replacing public employees with consultants in Saskatchewan — at double the cost
• Interpol called in to help with investigation of Montreal hospital P3 privatization scheme corruption

Custodial union representatives to meet with Romeo administrators

Source: Matthew Fahr, Advisor & Source, June 17, 2015

Custodial staff within the Romeo School District may still have hope of holding onto their jobs as the Romeo School Board finalized their 2015-16 budget at their June 15 meeting. The board unanimously approved a budget that included $2.1 million in expenditure rollbacks. A portion of those reductions include a $500,000 savings to be gained through the outsourcing of 31 custodial staff in the district. …. The bulk of the savings would come from $1,157,500 worth of teaching staff reductions due to a lower student count throughout the district. …. The final budget was approved and sent to Lansing, but amendments can be made throughout the year, which would be done if AFSCME and the district come to an agreement within the next month before their contract expires. ….
Door still open for custodial staff to save jobs in Romeo
Source: Matthew Fahr, Advisor & Source, June 4, 2015

What was first thought to be a finished piece of the Romeo School District budget has slowly become an option once again. Custodial staff of the Romeo School District and their supporters were again on hand at the Romeo School Board meeting on June 1 to plead with the board to reconsider privatizing their jobs starting later this year … Felicia Hicks, the Council 25 AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal Employee) representative for the staff, said at the last meeting that her workers have taken a 7.5 percent pay cut and have been paying toward their own insurance for years. She told the board that they were willing to work with the district at the bargaining table to find the $500,000 needed to keep their workers employed by the district.

Romeo School Board approves budget cut recommendations
Source: Matthew Fahr, Advisor & Source, June 2, 2015

After years of using fund equity to avoid the inevitable, the Romeo District School Board voted 5-2 to accept budget cutting recommendations. …. Budget figures put the savings at almost $600,000 if the district shifts 31 custodial employees and three campus monitors to a private company and off of the district payroll….. When it became official that the board would plug those changes into the upcoming 2015-16 budget, frustration boiled over. Felicia Hicks, the Council 25 AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal Employee) representative for the staff, said that her workers have taken a 7.5 percent pay cut and have been paying toward their own insurance for years, but were willing to work with the district at the bargaining table to find the $500,000 needed to keep their workers employed by the district.

Middletown School Board Extends Sodexo Contract Despite Union Objections

Source: Shawn R. Beals, Courant, June 11, 2015

The board of education on Tuesday night extended the contract of facilities management company Sodexo for the 2015-16 school year, despite objections from both the union representing facilities staff and Republican board members. Those who supported the contract said they expect better performance from Sodexo in personnel matters, but are pleased with much of the company’s performance in cutting costs and accomplishing projects that have been delayed for years. The board voted 4-3 to extend the contract, which will cost $1.95 million. …
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….

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.”

Rahm’s privatization of school janitors is still a mess

Source: Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, June 4, 2015

For the last several months, teachers in Chicago have been doing two jobs for the price of one: instructing kids, and occasionally taking a moment to mop, scrub, or vacuum their dirty classrooms. The extra duties are the result of a $340 million privatization boondoggle from Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Among other things, it’s resulted in the Chicago Public Schools firing hundreds of janitors. Now teachers at Oriole Park elementary on the northwest side have decided to take matters into their own hands. They’ve filed a union grievance that, if successful, could force CPS to hire back some of the janitors. Apparently this is the state of things: to get CPS to clean its schools, teachers have to go all legal on them.
Chicago school cleaning contract millions over budget /Aramark has so far billed Chicago Public Schools $86 million for what was supposed to cost $64 million
Source: Becky Vevea, WBEZ, April 27, 2015

The promise of cleaner schools at a lower price has turned out to be just that — a promise. Chicago Public Schools’ three-year contract with Philadelphia-based Aramark to manage all school cleaning services is $22 million over budget, according to procurement and finance records obtained by WBEZ. Aramark has billed Chicago Public Schools $86 million for the first 11 months of its three-year contract. The first year price tag was initially set at $64 million….

CPS group rips ‘Magic’ custodian deal, contributions to Emanuel campaign
Source: Juan Perez Jr. and Cynthia Dizikes Chicago Tribune, March 19, 2015

The 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….

Outsourced: Aramark’s Filthy Mishandling of Chicago’s Public Schools
Source: Carol Caref, Jordan Conwell and Sarah Hainds, Chicago Teachers Union, September 2014

From the summary:
….In June, 2014, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) e-mailed a survey to all of its members for whom an e-mail address was available. Over 1,000 responded to the survey and the vast majority was angry about this new outsourcing and very concerned about the health and safety of their schools. In general, concerns were raised about Aramark, but not Sodexomagic. Teachers did not blame the individual workers. They blamed CPS for outsourcing janitorial services to Aramark. They blamed CPS and Aramark for their mismanagement and for moving custodians with knowledge of a particular building to other buildings. These problems are related to CPS’ and Aramark’s stated goal of saving money by increasing staff productivity by 50%. In other words, they expect custodians to do 1.5 times as much work for less money. Because of cutbacks, 625 custodians are now responsible for cleaning 485 school buildings serving 307,110 students. Any potential cost-savings is not worth the health and safety of these children. Aramark prides itself on having “expertise in providing custodial services,” but the survey responses indicate otherwise. Comparing before and after March 1, 2014, when the custodial services became outsourced, 74% of respondents said custodial service was worse and 72% said familiar custodians were no longer in their schools. …

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….

Agreement reached on outgoing Glen Rock school custodians

Source: Richard De Santa, Glen Rock Gazette, May 22, 2015

The Glen Rock Board of Education this week approved a resolution abolishing the last four supervising custodian positions that remain compensated directly by the district, pursuant to its new outsourcing contract with Aramark Management LLC. Effective July 1, the action at the Monday, May 18 BOE meeting incorporated a “sidebar” settlement reached with the Glen Rock Education Association (GREA), providing additional benefits to individuals whose jobs will lapse on that date. The union had vigorously opposed the elimination of the positions since the plan was disclosed last year, most notably the timing of the change, which it said penalized some workers nearing retirement.

The negotiated sidebar agreement includes the following provisions:
* The affected employees will be paid for accumulated sick leave based on years of service at the applicable per-diem rate and maximum payment for either resigning employees or retiring employees as governed by the related collective bargaining agreement, whichever is applicable;
* Affected 12-month employees are entitled to medical insurance in accordance with the agreement, until July 31;
* Employees with unused vacation days accrued during the current school year and others they were permitted to accumulate as per the agreement are entitled to payment at their per diem rate, to be calculated on the basis of their 2014-15 salaries.

It additionally stipulates that the workers will not be entitled to any other salary or benefits from the district after their termination at the end of this school year; and that the benefits included would not affect their right to collect unemployment benefits for which they are otherwise eligible.

Glen Rock school district reaches agreement with outsourcing company
Source: Glen Rock Gazette, May 1, 2015

Aramark Management Services will continue as the Glen Rock school district’s outsourcing provider of custodial services for at least the next two years. A new contract with the company was unanimously approved by the Board of Education at its April 27 public meeting. It calls for a payment of $1,499,363 to the company for custodial and management services in 2015-16, and $1,514,356 the following year.The pact also includes three, one-year extensions at the district’s option. Under the new agreement, Aramark will provide all district custodians, with the positions of the remaining four head custodians compensated directly by the district to be eliminated at the end of this term. All other workers had been supplied by Aramark since 2011. ….

Carlisle school district will pay out $140k to custodial workers

Source: Joseph Cress, The Sentinel, May 11, 2015

Carlisle Area School District will be paying up to $140,000 in longevity bonuses and severance compensation to 28 full-time employees affected by the outsourcing of custodial services to a private contractor. Carlisle Director of Finance Shawn Farr said the $140,000 will be taken out of the current year’s budget because the 28 workers will be out of a job on June 5 – which falls within the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Though not included in the current budget, the transition plan for custodial workers could be funded by leftover money that would normally be carried into reserves, Farr said. … Under the plan, each custodial worker will receive a longevity bonus of $75 for each full school year they have been employed by the district. The district will also compensate each worker for half of the accumulated sick leave up to 50 days, plus accumulated personal days and vacation time multiplied by the per diem rate. … In recent years, the district has been replacing custodians who retire or resign with workers employed by Walker’s Maintenance of Camp Hill and Springer Commercial Cleaning of Carlisle. …

Filthy hospital ward ‘cleaned’ by private firm fuels fears Tory privatisation putting public at risk

Source: Dan Warburton, Mirror, April 28, 2015

A state-of-the art hospital has ordered an urgent probe after the Mirror uncovered shocking ­failings by the private firm in charge of keeping it clean. G4S vowed to “rectify the issues” after we showed bosses photos of bags of potentially infectious ­clinical waste strewn across the wards. The damning evidence, given to us by a whistleblower, emerged days after the security giant was handed a lucrative new contract to ­maintain and clean Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Herts. An appalled insider said: “This level of dirt puts the public at risk. Would you want your family going in to a hospital like this and receiving treatment?” The images will fuel fears privatisation of NHS services by the Tory-led government is putting public safety at risk…. G4S won a second contract for cleaning at the Lister Hospital earlier this month but sparked anger by restructuring workers’ pay. In a letter to staff in February, the firm warned cleaners it had to alter hourly rates due to brutal Tory NHS cuts. ….

overflowing trash

CVC Workers Allege Retaliation After Strike

Source: Bridget Bowman, Roll Call, Hill Blotter blog, April 28, 2015

Two Capitol Visitor Center contract workers have filed an unfair labor practice complaint against their employer for allegedly retaliating against employees who participated in a strike last week. “When I went into work on Thursday I was being harassed,” CVC cashier Kellie Duckett, 30, said in a Tuesday phone interview. “[The manager] cut my hours, she cut me and a co-worker’s hours, she was just pretty much following me around Thursday. And Friday is when she took me in her office and she threatened my job.” On April 24, the advocacy group Good Jobs Nation filed the complaint to the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of Duckett and fellow CVC cafeteria worker Tracy Allen. The complaint is filed against Restaurant Associates, which employes the food service contract workers in the Capitol complex.
Duckett and Allen were among the 13 CVC workers who participated in an April 22 strike and rally at the Capitol, along with 23 Senate workers. They said their manager began retaliating against them when they returned to work the next day. But the company said any retaliation is not allowed….
Dem leaders want Senate food workers to make $15 an hour
Source: Alexander Bolton, The Hill, April 28, 2015

Democratic leaders are calling for Senate restaurant workers to get paid $15 an hour, after media outlets reported that one food-service employee is homeless. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is next in line to become Senate Democratic leader, said he and his colleagues have spoken to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) about raising wages for Senate food workers. Schumer said Tuesday he supports paying workers $15 an hour.

Food workers, janitors walk out on U.S. Senate
Source: John Verhovek and Dana Bash, CNN, April 22, 2015

About 40 contracted workers from the United States Senate walked off their jobs Wednesday morning and joined more than 1,000 labor activists at a rally calling on President Barack Obama and Congress to require federal contractors to pay their workers more. The Senate workers — employed at the upper chamber’s cafeteria, on janitorial duty and in other food service jobs — along with other federal contracted employees, are calling on the President to sign a “Model Employer Executive Order” that would give federal contracting preferences to companies that can pay their workers $15 an hour….Compass Group, a British-based catering company, confirmed that their subsidiary — New York based Restaurant Associates — contracts workers for the Senate cafeteria, but would not comment on the actions or demands of Olotara and other employees….

Senate Restaurant Staff Rebel Against Benefits Freeze
Source: Warren Rojas, Roll Call, Heard on the Hill blog, March 10, 2015

The 30 or so remaining dining services personnel who got swept up in the transfer of power from the Architect of the Capitol to Restaurant Associates in 2008 may now need pols to rectify unforeseen circumstances that have soured the entire experience for them. The fight for parity has been brewing ever since Norma Rogers — who told HOH she’ll have logged 33 years working on Capitol Hill come April — began investigating how her retirement package might shake out. Much to her dismay, Rogers discovered that as far as federal actuaries are concerned, she stopped being a government employee as soon as the catering services swap got inked into law. … Per the supervisor, the dramatic changes, including an ineligibility for overtime pay and disqualification from employer-sponsored life insurance coverage — the source said RA insists those benefits are tied to AOC; The Architect’s office maintains RA should shoulder the burden — were not part of the agreement presented to those who elected to stay put in the congressional dining halls. ….

Striking custodial workers at most Stafford County schools plan to continue protest Tuesday

Source: Cathy Jett, Free Lance-Star, April 27, 2015

Employees of the company providing janitorial services for most of Stafford County’s schools plan to continue striking on Tuesday. About 50 first showed up at 7 a.m. Monday to wave signs outside GCA Services Group’s office in the Stafford County Public Schools Facilities Operations and Maintenance Facility at 25 Wyatt Lane in Stafford…. The employees, many of whom have worked for GCA as long as seven years, said they’ve never gotten a raise to their $8 an hour salary. That’s 75 cents above minimum wage in Virginia. … According to her, Santos said that management wanted to evaluate each employee’s work record individually, and some would get raises and some would not. He added that at this time they would not consider the strikers’ other concerns. These include lack of paid sick leave, insurance and other benefits….