Category Archives: Custodial

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.”

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“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.

Audit reveals UL was over charged by catering company Sodexo

Source: KATC, October 5, 2015

UL is responding to new allegations that it may have overspent thousands of taxpayer dollars to a UL food service provider. According to a newly released legislative audit, UL was over charged nearly $5,500 for tailgating events by food service provider Sodexo, from October 10th, 2009 to November 7th, 2013.  During that time, the audit says Sodexo allegedly overcharged UL nine times.  However, both UL and Sodexo say they’re working to credit the university back that money.

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Audit report: UL at Lafayette food services company catered parties for student union director for free
Source: Lanie Lee Cook, The Acadiana Advocate, October 5, 2015

An audit released on Monday revealed the company selling food services to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette overbilled the school on some occasions, provided free catering for non-university events involving a former school official and brokered unwritten meal deals with university employees in exchange for cleaning services and football tickets. The state Legislative Auditor’s findings come almost a year after university auditors discovered possible misappropriation of public funds in its dealings with Sodexo Management Inc. The school is now “reviewing its contractual relationship” with the company, according to a written response to the audit by UL-Lafayette President Joseph Savoie. … Sodexo also owes the university money for cleaning services, as the union’s housekeeping staff cleaned the student dining hall — which is under lease and operated by Sodexo — while on the university’s clock and in exchange for meal plans, according to the audit. Each employee who cleaned the dining hall received a meal a day from July 2009 to August 2014, costing Sodexo at least $33,213, yet part of Sodexo’s contract includes cleaning the facilities it leases.

WFISD implements new cleaning standards after staph found

Source: John Ingle, Times Record-News, September 22, 2015

The Wichita Falls ISD has implemented new cleaning procedures for locker rooms after three student athletes at Rider High School tested positive for staph infection in early September. Ashley Thomas, communications officer for the district, said the district learned of the positive test results on Sept. 8. The following day, the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District was asked to collect swab samples. … Lou Kreidler, director of health at the health district, said employees from the General Environmental office met with Aramark and discussed their cleaning procedures. She said it came down to the cleaning company simply not cleaning appropriately.

Outsourcing of staff avoided

Source: Jacklyn York, thewichitan.com, September 22, 2015

In an effort to realize nearly $300,000 in budget cuts last spring, administrators considered outsourcing some campus services, including janitorial services and groundskeeping. … Eliminating nine positions, he said, was a better alternative for the university, noting that all of the positions were unfilled meaning that no people lost their jobs. Of the people in the positions considered for outsourcing, almost half of those have been with the university for 10 or more years, Owen said, noting that people working for the university tend to stay in their jobs much longer than when they work for a private company. …

In a bankrupt Pa. school district, teachers plan to work for free

Source: Lyndsey Layton, The Washington Post, August 28, 2015

Employees of the Chester Upland School District in Pennsylvania will show up for work on the first day of school next Wednesday, but they don’t expect to get paid. The district, which has been struggling with financial and academic problems for decades, is on the edge of insolvency and cannot make payroll, state and local officials have said. So on Thursday, about 200 members of the local teachers union voted unanimously to work without pay as the new school year opens. They were joined by secretaries, school bus drivers, janitors and administrators. … Chester Upland is facing a $22 million deficit that could grow to more than $46 million without major intervention, Sheridan said. He blamed several factors: local mismanagement, state cuts in education spending under the previous governor and a state law that requires traditional school districts to pay charter schools significant amounts for students who live within their boundaries but attend charters. Public charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately run, have been growing to the point that they educate nearly half the students who live in the Chester Upland district. Chester Upland pays local charter schools about $64 million in tuition payments — more than it receives in state school aid.

Bus drivers cleaning Wichita schools in pilot program

Source: Suzanne Perez Tobias, The Wichita Eagle, September 13, 2015

The Wichita district is using bus drivers as part-time custodians at more than a dozen elementary schools as part of a pilot program aimed at keeping schools clean and holding down costs, officials said. Darren Muci, director of operations for Wichita schools, said the district plans to contract with First Student this semester to provide workers to clean cafeterias over the lunch period at 16 schools. … Wichita school board members on Monday will consider a contract with First Student for temporary cafeteria workers for the remainder of the fall semester. The district would pay $15 an hour per worker, according to the proposal – $45,000 or less for all 16 schools. … Several schools switched custodians to later shifts to clean classrooms, hallways and common areas at the end of the school day, Muci said. That left the schools needing extra help at lunchtime, but there weren’t enough funds to hire additional custodians, he said. Custodians, who are district employees, receive pay and benefits under the district’s contract with the Service Employees International Union Local 513.

Janitors rally for higher wages

Source: Isabella Sayyah, The Daily Trojan, September 9, 2015

… The 200-250 janitors organized by the Service Employees International Union, United Service Workers West, are asking USC officials to support them in their bid for higher wages and better health care benefits from subcontractor Aramark. … The workers union contract expired at the end of June. Since, the janitors have been working without a contract, according to Luiz Fuentes, lead organizer with SIEU USWW. … Though the janitors’ negotiations are strictly with Aramark, the group hopes that the University can assist them in negotiating a better contract. … Currently, the janitors earn from $9.75 up to $17 an hour, depending on how long they’ve held their job and their skill set, Garcia said.