Category Archives: Custodial

School board trustees to mull custodial outsourcing

Source: The Gazette-Virginian, May 4, 2016

Halifax County School Board will discuss bids from custodial outsourcing companies when it meets at 6 p.m. Thursday for a work session in the School Board Conference Room in the Mary Bethune Office Complex in Halifax. The board agreed to receive bids until Wednesday at their last meeting after they amended and approved a request for proposal. … After ED-4 Trustee Joe Gasperini told Jennings that he felt the school board should decide if employees were going to stay with the school system, Jennings told the board he wrote the RFP so that companies would give prices based on if they took the employees or if they remained employees of the school system.


Schools now taking custodial outsourcing bids
Source: Ashley Hodge, Gazette-Virginian, April 13, 2016

Halifax County Public Schools will receive bids from custodial outsourcing companies through May 4 after Halifax County School Board members amended and approved a request for proposal at their meeting Monday evening in Halifax. The RFP was unanimously approved by a 5-0 vote with ED-3 Trustee Kim Farson, ED-7 Trustee R. K. “Dick” Stoneman and ED-1 Trustee Orey Hill absent from the meeting. … The RFP states the first contract will be for 12 months from June 1, 2016 through June 1, 2017 with the school system having the option of extension annually up to an additional five years. Extension will be based upon satisfactory performance of the contractor. The RFP initially said sealed proposals would be accepted until May 13, but ED-6 Trustee Fay Satterfield suggested moving the date to May 4, so bids could be reviewed prior to the board’s May 9 meeting. … Jennings said he wrote the RFP so that companies will give prices based on whether the employees become company employees or if they remain employees of the school system.

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. …

Hundreds attend N.J. school district meeting to fight outsourcing

Source: Brittany M. Wehner,, April 29, 2016

A South Jersey school district has decided to seek bids for services that could replace staff, school board officials said Thursday night. Due to a deficit in the budget, Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional School District administration is being forced to find a way to fill the gaps. One possibility is job cuts, then outsourcing, or bringing outside services into the district. Woodstown-Pilesgrove faced a $1.4 million deficit in the budget in May 2015, which also brought layoffs. However, the budget is still at a deficit of $333,223, according to District Business Administrator Frank Rizzo. Since 2010, the district has already cut more than 30 staff positions. The district now faces possible cuts in class-three maintenance, custodial, cafeteria, and paraprofessional staff. … When it came down to the vote granting administration permission to research costs for outsourcing, the board was split. It passed with a 4 to 3 vote with one abstention. … However, hundreds of parents, teachers, and staff turned out for the board meeting and made their voices and concerns heard, claiming outsourcing is not the way to go.

County rejects Claremont privatization pitches

Source: Zack Hoopes, The Sentinel, April 25, 2016

The county’s quasi-controversial interest in further privatization at the Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center appears to have come to a halt. The Cumberland County Commissioners voted unanimously yesterday to reject all offers received from vendors to completely take over the food, housekeeping, and laundry departments at the county-owned nursing home. After reviewing the bids received last month, county staff recommended to the commission that none of the offers were worth it. … In February, the commissioners had voted to issue a bid solicitation for vendors to run Claremont’s auxiliary functions. Currently, an outside management company – Sodexo – is responsible for the cash flow. But the 75 workers in the food, laundry, and housekeeping services are county employees. If the county were to go through with it, the proposal would have had those jobs become private-sector.


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.

Superbugs vs. Outsourced Cleaners: Employment Arrangements and the Spread of Healthcare-Associated Infections

Source: Adam Seth Litwin, Ariel C. Avgar, Edmund R. Becker, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Forthcoming, February 24, 2016


On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients in the U.S. has a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) that the patient contracts as a direct result of his or her treatment. Fortunately, the spread of most HAIs can be halted through proper disinfection of surfaces and equipment. Consequently, cleaners — “environmental services” (EVS) in hospital parlance — must take on the important task of defending hospital patients (as well as employees and the broader community) from the spread of HAIs. Nevertheless, despite the importance of this task, hospitals frequently outsource this function, increasing the likelihood that these workers are under-rewarded, undertrained, and detached from the organization and the rest of the care team. As a result, the outsourcing of EVS workers could have the unintended consequence of increasing the incidence of HAIs. We demonstrate this relationship empirically, finding support for our theory by using a self-constructed dataset that marries infection data to structural, organizational, and workforce features of California’s general acute care hospitals. The study thus advances the literature on nonstandard work arrangements — outsourcing, in particular — while sounding a cautionary note to hospital administrators and healthcare policymakers.

Janitors and security guards are paid 20% less when they’re contractors, report says

Source: Shan Li, Los Angeles Times, March 9, 2016

A boom in companies trying to cut costs by contracting out janitorial and security jobs has led to large pay disparities between workers doing the same jobs, according to a UC Berkeley report. Janitors who work for California contractors earn on average $10.31 an hour, or 20% less than janitors who work directly for a company that uses their services, according to the report, prepared by the university’s Center for Labor Research and Education and released Tuesday. … Many contractors, especially smaller companies, also do not pay overtime or even minimum wage, Hinkley said. They often misclassify workers as independent contractors, thereby avoiding making Social Security contributions and sometimes even pocketing taxes that would normally be deducted from paychecks. … When workers want to complain, an often complicated layer of contractors and subcontractors obscures who is responsible for their paycheck and working conditions, Narro said. Many contractors who are hired to supply janitors or security guards will in turn outsource those jobs to subcontractors, which can be “fly by night” operations that work with no contracts, he said.

I Was a Super Bowl Concession Worker

Source: Gabriel Thompson, Slate, February 9, 2016

The smart stadium was supposed to be an economic boon. Back in 2010, when residents of Santa Clara, a small city of 120,000 just northwest of San Jose, voted to support its construction, boosters promised it would create “thousands of desperately needed new jobs,” providing a lifeline to the very people “bearing the brunt of the recession.” Pro-stadium signs reading “Yes on Jobs!” blanketed the city, part of a campaign paid for by the 49ers, who plowed more than $4 million into the effort. … The stadium has indeed provided a few thousand jobs—about 4,500 people work each event, serving hot dogs, directing traffic, mopping up spilled beer, and securing the grounds. … Many of the stadium workers I spoke with told me they earn $11 or $12 an hour. That would be about $1,900 a month if it were full-time work, but it’s not. … That’s what the NFL usually does: Twenty-nine of the 31 NFL stadiums have received public funds. The stadium for the Indianapolis Colts was made possible with a $620 million subsidy; the Minnesota Vikings are set to receive $678 million from taxpayers to help build their new one. St. Louis, which recently lost the Rams to Los Angeles, built the team a stadium in 1995 with $280 million in taxpayer money—and will be paying off the debt on those bonds, team or not, through at least 2021.

Judith Grant Long, an associate professor of sport management at the University of Michigan, studied all 31 NFL stadiums in use during the 2010 season, and calculated that taxpayers shelled out an average of $374 million each. The 49ers got a good deal with Levi’s Stadium, too. Santa Clara used $114 million in public funds, and, with the help of Goldman Sachs, created a public authority that borrowed $679 million to fund the remainder of the construction, all of which would be paid off with revenue generated by the stadium over the next 25 years. Or so the authority—whose board comprises Santa Clara’s mayor and city council—claimed. The original plan called for the 49ers and the NFL to chip in another $493 million, but during lengthy negotiations between the stadium authority and the team, that figure was later cut nearly in half. In the end, Goldman Sachs earned $75 million in interest and fees and the 49ers’ net worth jumped 69 percent in one year, to $2.7 billion.

UC Berkeley Workers, Students Say University’s Subcontracted Campus Jobs Mean Poverty Wages

Source: Mario Vasquez, In These Times, December 10, 2015

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…..

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.