Category Archives: Custodial

Letter to the Editor: More accountability needed for private companies

Source: Tom DeLucia, President of AFSCME Local 287, New Haven Register, September 6, 2016

I, too, am a school custodian, but my employer is the New Haven Board of Education. When I was hired, I had to go to the police station to be finger-printed. There was also a background check to make sure I did not have a criminal record. Employees of private companies do not have to go through the same process we do. That’s one of the problems with outsourcing, but it’s a problem that can be fixed by demanding greater accountability and transparency on the part of the company hired to provide a service.

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Felon arrested on New Haven gun charge worked for company contracted by city schools
Source: Estaban L. Hernandez, New Haven Register, August 2, 2016

A man police identified as a convicted felon facing gun possession charges was working as a supervisor for a company contracted by the school board for facilities services at the time of his arrest last weekend. Jorge Rivera, 35, was arrested Saturday after police said he pointed a stolen gun at another man’s face during an altercation. … Clark said Rivera worked for ABM since 2014. Mitchell Burns, project manager for ABM’s New Haven offices, said Tuesday he couldn’t comment on the matter. Burns declined to confirm that Rivera worked at ABM. Clark said the district has asked ABM to remove Rivera from the staffing they provide the district. Similar to Whaley, Rivera likely had minimal contact with students, if any. The district doesn’t have a say on Rivera’s employment with the company, Clark added. … What’s also unclear is what school facilities Rivera staffed. Clark said ABM supplies the district with more than 150 part-time custodians assigned across the district. Rivera’s duties included reviewing attendance sheets, assigning work and ensuring proper cleaning. …

Pushing Working Families into Poverty: Assessing the New Haven Plan to Privatize the Public Schools’ Custodial Services
Source: Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Political Economy Research Institute University of Massachusetts, Amherst, March 2011

The City of New Haven is considering outsourcing its public school custodial services to a private firm, GCA Services Group, to reduce the City’s projected $42 million deficit for fiscal year (FY) 2011-12. Outsourcing to this firm would cut the cost of the school custodial services in half, saving the City $8.1 million, equal to 19 percent of the deficit. This report assesses the major cuts in wage and benefits that this proposal will impose on New Haven’s currently employed custodians, including their impact on the families of the custodial workers.

The main findings are:
• The GCA Services Group proposed contract to provide public school custodial services would:

○ Reduce the current average wage among the New Haven Public School (NHPS) custodians by 40%, from $20.90 to $12.50 per hour;

○ Replace 186 full-time custodial positions with a largely part-time workforce; at minimum, 2/3 of the new positions will be part-time;

○ Eliminate health insurance benefits, overtime pay and bonuses for all part-time workers; eliminate retirement benefits for all workers.

• These severe pay and benefit reductions would effectively force the 186 lower-to-middle-income NHPS custodians and their families to bear the burden for fully 19 percent ―$8.1 million ―of the city’s projected $42 million budget deficit for FY2011-12. Yet, these 186 families represent less than one-half of one-percent of the 46,000 households in New Haven.

Survey: Most Michigan Schools Outsource Noninstructional Services

Source: Derek Daplin, Michigan Capital Confidential, August 25, 2016

Farmington Public Schools is expected to save $1.4 million this year after privatizing its custodial services for the first time. The district is one of several public school districts that have recently turned to privatizing noninstructional services, joining others that have used the practice for years. Farmington estimates the district will save $4.2 million over three years because of the move. The district reported its findings to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy for its “Michigan School Privatization Survey 2016.” … In recent years, public school districts in Michigan have increasingly contracted out at least one of three noninstructional services covered by the report — food, custodial, or transportation. Over 70 percent of districts in the state have contracted out for at least one the three services in the last year, a slight increase from 69.7 percent in 2015. A private vendor is now used in 379 of 541 districts in the state for at least one of the three services. In 2001, the first year the survey was conducted, only 31 percent of districts used private contracts for one or more of these services. … The survey was based on telephone interviews with districts, which were conducted between May 11 and June 30, 2016. The Mackinac Center submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to districts that asked for them, the study says. The Center has had a perfect response rate on the survey since 2005. The survey also probed for districts’ satisfaction with their private contractors. Nearly all districts, or 89 percent, said they were satisfied. Less than 3 percent were unsatisfied. … The districts that privatized custodial services this year include Farmington Public Schools, Clawson Public Schools and North Huron Schools. Districts with newly privatized food services are the Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw School District, Carson City-Crystal Area Schools and Ellsworth Community Schools. Districts with newly privatized transportation services are East Grand Rapids Public Schools, Montrose Community Schools, and Mid Peninsula School District. …

Read full report.

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Number of Michigan Schools Privatizing Services Grows to 70 Percent
Source: James M. Hohman and Jonathan Moy, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, August 17, 2015

There are more Michigan public schools contracting out food, custodial or transportation services than ever, according to the Mackinac Center’s latest survey of school districts. This year, 70.8 percent of school districts use private-sector vendors to clean buildings, get kids to school, or cook and serve school meals. This is up from 66.6 percent the previous year. … The biggest change has been in custodial services. Our 2003 survey found only 34 districts contracted out this service. In 2015, 283 of Michigan’s 542 districts contracted out these services. School food services are highly-regulated enterprises and the federal government subsidizes meals for many children. There are a few companies that have specialized in helping districts provide this service. In 2003, 27.3 percent of districts contracted out these services. This proportion increased to 42.8 percent in 2015. … There is a growing number of school districts that use private-sector contractors to bus students to and from schools. There were 18 districts that began new transportation contracts between the 2014 survey and the 2015 survey and now 144 of Michigan’s 542 districts (26.6 percent) contract out this service.

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

OP-ED: PRIVATIZING PUBLIC SCHOOL CUSTODIANS AND FACILITY MANAGEMENT

Source: Jerell Blakeley, NJ Spotlight, August 15, 2016

Unfortunately, Bush is not alone. He and his hardworking colleagues in Camden and other cities are losing their jobs as more and more districts choose to privatize school custodial staff. School districts in New Jersey as diverse as Clifton, Woodstown, Lacey, and Paterson are privatizing school custodial-staff members at alarming rates. As members of the Healthy Schools Now coalition, we are concerned about the impact of school privatization on school facility quality, as well as the social costs of this troubling trend. … According to noted education scholar Walter Farrell, privatization leads to lower quality services, accountability problems, and hidden costs; most importantly, the financial benefits remain unproven. According to the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, custodial privatization processes suffer from loopholes in contracts, misleading cost-benefit analyses, indirect costs, and unrealistic introductory rates. Due to the inexperience of the privatized school custodial staff and its lack of appropriate staffing, President Clarice Berry of the Chicago Principals Association, testified before a Chicago City Council committee that she was “terrified” of what would happen when the snow began. According to the Chicago Tribune, parents claim that the unsanitary bathroom conditions, overflowing garbage cans and soiled napping cots are the result of inadequate custodial care following the Chicago Board of Education’s decision to award multimillion-dollar custodial management contracts to two firms, Aramark and SodexoMAGIC. … Healthy Schools Now is also concerned with the disproportionate impact of cuts on custodians of color. As noted in a recent article in The New York Times, roughly one in five black adults are employed in the public sector and are about 30 percent more likely to have a public-sector job than non-Hispanic whites, and twice as likely as Hispanics. …

Chelmsford district’s new custodial system earns high marks

Source: Alana Melanson, Lowell Sun, August 15, 2016

Driven by dissatisfaction with the level of cleanliness, high turnover and a history of employee thefts, school officials chose earlier this year to end their contract with Aramark, the company that cleaned the schools since custodians were outsourced in 2011. They opted instead to institute a hybrid model: In-district custodians clean the schools during the day and contracted vendors provide services at night. Curley was hired to provide oversight and ensure accountability. A day custodian was hired at each elementary and middle school. Three hired at Chelmsford High will work on staggered shifts to ensure full week and weekend coverage at the district’s busiest school, Lang said. He said a few of the 10 new custodians are former Aramark employees who had good relationships with their schools and wished to stay. Advanced Maintenance Solutions Inc. of Beverly was hired to clean the Byam, Center, Harrington and South Row elementary schools, the Westlands School and the central administration building. S.J. Services Inc. of Danvers was hired to clean McCarthy and Parker middle schools. Dynamic Janitorial Cleaning Inc. of Milford was hired to clean the high school. Each vendor has a one-year contract with two- and three-year options. Over the summer, the contractors are busy cleaning the schools from floor to ceiling. The School Department-hired custodians are working with town facilities employees to beautify the grounds and exteriors of each school. ….

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3 contractors to share Chelmsford schools custodial duties
Source: Alana Melanson, Lowell Sun, April 16, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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County unlikely to privatize EMS, libraries

Source: Gary Pinnell, Highlands Today, August 14, 2016

A push to transfer 10 county departments to private employers began in 2013 when Positive Mobility’s Ron Layne suggested ambulances for hire should transport non-emergency patients. Tea party members stood in front of the county commission and lobbied for months for Layne’s plan. … But the emergency part of the ambulance service is unlikely to be privatized, three commissioners said Tuesday. … The commissioners went a lot farther down the road to privatizing county services in a 2014 goal-setting workshop: recycling, landfill, libraries, Healthy Families, real estate surveying, fleet maintenance, asphalt production and road paving. Bids were accepted for janitorial services for county offices, but the issue was always a non-starter with constitutional officers. … Elwell pointed out in November that the county privatized tourism by replacing tourism director John Scherlacher with a contract with Gray Dog Communications. Brooks and Elwell said privatizing libraries was a non-starter. … The county continues to look at farming out Healthy Families, a home visitation program for expectant parents and parents of newborns. The program is designed to educate parents and improve childhood outcomes. An Aug. 2 note from County Administrator June Fisher to commissioners said, “holding periodic meetings with interested parties and non-profits to continue the discussion of partnership opportunities.” Commissioners un-privatized the county attorney’s office. Last year, Ross Macbeth was in private practice and billed the county an average of $246,000 per year. …

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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.”

Last chance for Volusia’s school custodian company?

Source: Dustin Wyatt, Daytona Beach News-Journal, July 10, 2016

The company that cleans Volusia County schools is optimistic that the same problems and complaints that stained its first year won’t sweep over into the next. But even though it’s headed into summer fully staffed for the first time — and even though it performed slightly better than mandated by its contract through its first full year — Ohio-based GCA Services may be running out of chances to impress its judges. … GCA entered into a contract with Volusia Schools when the deal with its predecessor, Aramark, turned murky. At the time, employees and board members complained of dirty floors, restrooms that weren’t stocked with toilet paper, soap and paper towels and other issues. Both parties agreed to cut short the five-year deal and GCA was brought in to right the ship. …

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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, 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….

New contracts bring raises for Ann Arbor Public Schools employees

Source: Lauren Slagter, MLive, June 30, 2016

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board amended its contract for custodial services with GCA Services Group, of Troy. The district entered into a three-year contract with GCA going into the 2014-15 school year when the board voted to privatize the services to save about $2 million. Changes to the agreement will cost an additional $1 million, which still puts the district’s annual savings at $750,000 compared to before hiring GCA, Swift said. The updated agreement will: raise the hourly wage for front line staff from $10 to $12; increase staffing by the equivalent of six full-time positions; increase the days of cleaning from 240 to 260 days a year; shift some general maintenance responsibilities to the school district’s maintenance staff; and refurbish or replace some custodial equipment. … Trustees Simone Lightfoot, Andy Thomas, Donna Lasinksi and Susan Baskett expressed their dissatisfaction with the work performed by GCA so far.

Related:

School custodians consider co-op to keep jobs  
Source: Associated Press, July 7, 2014

Custodians with Ann Arbor schools may form a worker-owned cooperative as part of an effort to keep their jobs if their work is outsourced by the district.  The custodians’ union AFSCME Local 1128 voted Saturday to pursue forming the cooperative. The district could contract with the co-op for custodial work without paying into the state retirement system for school employees…

Outsourced: Ann Arbor Public Schools hires private company for custodial work
Source: Amy Biolchini, mlive.com, June 12, 2014

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education approved hiring private company GCA Services to run its custodial services beginning July 1 at its regular meeting Wednesday night. ….. GCA Services is the same company that AAPS was considering initiating a contract with in 2010 for custodial work — but the AFSCME union agreed to an 8 percent wage cut to keep its contract in place. …. AAPS custodians, if selected by GCA, would be hired in at the top of their respective pay scales and would receive seamless healthcare coverage. Benefits with GCA also include dental, vision and life insurance, short-term disability and 401k plans.

Ann Arbor school custodians may form employee-owned co-op in attempt to save their jobs
Source: Amy Biolchini, mlive.com, June 10, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools custodians are pursuing an alternative solution in an attempt to save their jobs as district officials consider outsourcing their work to a private company. The custodians’ union, AFSCME Local 1128, voted Saturday to pursue forming a worker-owned cooperative, said President Rick Redding. School board President Deb Mexicotte said the board has not yet received a proposal from the union and had no knowledge of the vote. ….. Forming a co-op would allow the district to contract with the co-op for custodial work, but would mean the district would no longer have to pay into the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. Each of the custodians would be a part-owner of the organization.

AAPS to seek bids for custodial work following school board vote
Source: Amy Biolchini, mlive.com, May 29, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools will be issuing a request for proposals this week for custodial services as the district seeks ways to cut its costs by outsourcing work. The Board of Education voted 7-0 Wednesday night to approve moving forward with the RFP. …

Ann Arbor school custodians express anger, frustration as district considers outsourcing jobs
Source: Amy Biolchini, mlive.com, May 28, 2014

Angered and frustrated, custodians from Ann Arbor Public Schools gathered for an emergency meeting Tuesday at Scarlett Middle School to figure out how to save their jobs. Members of the custodians union, AFSCME Local 1182, said they were surprised when the district announced to them last Wednesday that it was considering seeking a private company to do custodial work. The union has 114 members. … The union’s contract expires at the end of this fiscal year. Union representatives had entered the first day of scheduled negotiations last week and were presented with a request from the district for a pay freeze, members said Tuesday. On the second day of negotiations the district then said custodial services were being considered for privatization because of the potential savings of $1.8 million, members said. Hearns told the group of custodians that the move could be considered an unfair labor practice and that the union was pursuing action. In the spring of 2010 the district considered outsourcing its custodial services—but the union agreed to an 8 percent pay cut to keep their jobs. …

Lansing School District privatizes custodial, maintenance jobs

Source: RJ Wolcott, Lansing State Journal, June 17, 2016

The Lansing Board of Education voted Thursday night to privatize more than 100 custodial and maintenance jobs within the Lansing School District. The 7-1 vote was taken 10 months after SodexoMAGIC was initially recommended by the district’s administration. Trustee Guillermo Lopez cast the lone vote in opposition. Approximately 109 district employees are affected by the privatization of custodial and other facilities-related jobs, said Lucy Rensberry, chair of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council Local 1390. … The district will begin negotiations with SodexoMAGIC, a partnership between Sodexo Inc. and the Earvin “Magic” Johnson-owned Magic Johnson Enterprises next week, said Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul. The district has a three-tiered plan it will present to SodexoMAGIC on how to keep employees within three years of reaching their pension thresholds under the district’s payroll until they hit their milestones. … SodexoMAGIC promised a litany of benefits in its proposal, including giving $1 million toward 21st-century classrooms as well as $60,000 in grants and summer internships for students. The company also vowed to hire all existing staff at their previous salaries and seniority levels and spend $750,000 on updated equipment and vehicles. …

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Privatizing custodians in Lansing schools up for vote Thursday
Source: RJ Wolcott, Lansing State Journal, June 14, 2016

Whether to privatize about 115 custodial and other facilities jobs in the Lansing School District is expected to be decided by the Lansing Board of Education on Thursday. It’s the second time in 10 months board members have been asked by the administration to approve SodexoMAGIC as the district’s facilities management company. … SodexoMAGIC was the highest bidder among those who provided cost estimates, but promised a litany of additional benefits. … SodexoMAGIC also promised to hire all current facilities staff while maintaining wages and seniority. It vowed to invest $750,000 toward improving facilities, including adding staff as well as updated equipment and vehicles. The move would allow the district to focus on education, removing the burden of hiring and training facilities staff, Spadafore added. Current district employees hired by SodexoMAGIC would lose their ability to contribute to the state pension system, a point of contention among staff, according to Dan Hamilton, staff representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25. …

No vote taken on Lansing school’s privatization plan
Source: RJ Wolcott, Lansing State Journal, June 2, 2016

After spending more than 30 minutes discussing the possibility of privatizing custodial and other facilities services within the Lansing School District, Board of Education members chose not to vote on the issue Thursday evening. Several board members cited concerns about the administration’s recommendation to award a facilities management contract to SodexoMAGIC, including how third-party staff would be integrated into schools and what efforts would be made to accommodate current union staff approaching retirement. … The company promised to hire all current facilities staff, roughly 115 employees, and maintain their wages and seniority, and pay $750,000 toward improving infrastructure within the district as well as addition staffing, equipment and vehicles. Custodians and other facilities staff would lose access to state-sponsored pensions if they became SodexoMAGIC employees, according to Dan Hamilton, staff representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25. Several staff members have nearly reached retirement age or their 30-year pension thresholds, and he hopes the district can work with the union to find a way to keep those employees under the district’s banners until they reach their milestones. …
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Commentary: Say no to outsourcing custodians

Source: Michael Zilles, President of Newton Teachers Association, Wicked Local, June 10, 2016

The Newton Teachers Association is appalled by the efforts of the School Committee, under Chairman Matt Hills, to outsource the work of the school custodians. It is bad enough that, having outsourced the work of cafeteria workers, Newton already employs the working poor to serve its children lunch; now the committee wants the working poor to clean their schools. … To date, members of the NTA have publicly stated two critical reasons why outsourcing is wrong:

  1. Outsourcing is unsafe. Our custodians are trusted and valued members of the school communities where they work. Contract custodians would not be a part of these communities, and the schools they work in would be neither as clean nor as safe as they are now.
  2. Outsourcing is hypocritical. Newton has prioritized improving the achievement of poor and minority students— closing the achievement gap. Yet by replacing solid middle-class jobs with low- paying contract jobs, Newton would be contributing to the very economic conditions that create that gap.

Related:

Newton School Committee, custodians at odds over outsourcing
Source: Laura Lovett, Wicked Local, May 18, 2016

After almost two years of contract negotiations, custodians and the School Committee are at a stalemate, the issue of outsourcing emerging as one obstacle to reaching an agreement. A jurisdiction clause dating back to the 1990s allows only union custodians to perform custodial work in the school buildings. At issue is whether the clause will be removed from a new contract. If the clause were to be removed some custodians could be replaced with contract employees making lower wages, according to Alan McDonald, the attorney representing the Newton Public School Custodians Association. Currently there are roughly 80 custodians in the schools. … In the response, outsourcing was discussed at length. The response said the School Committee presented several proposals with the goal of efficiency in operations and saving money. A consultant’s report by Core Management Services LLC, commissioned by the School Committee in 2015, identified potential annual cost savings through outsourcing of up to $3 million. …