Category Archives: Higher.Education

Labor panel rules against Community Colleges of Spokane

Source: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (WA), Friday, July 7, 2006 · Last updated 12:00 p.m. PT

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Community Colleges of Spokane engaged in unfair labor practices by hiring private workers for some jobs and making it difficult for union members to get information needed for negotiations, a state labor panel has found.

On June 30, the Public Employment Relations Commission ordered the colleges to stop subcontracting out several jobs and to stop “obstructing” union requests for information. “I think it’s a strong statement that the state at all levels needs to negotiate about contracting out” labor, said Tim Welch, director of public affairs for the Washington Federation of State Employees.

Aramark, USM deal concerns workers

Source: By Ed Enoch, Hattiesburg American (MS), June 7, 2006

Aramark hopes to begin operations at the University of Southern Mississippi’s physical plant on July 1, and meetings are scheduled this month to help ease the transition.

…… Plant employees met with Aramark representatives on campus Monday to learn how their jobs and benefits would change with the proposed outsourcing. Some employees were unhappy with what they heard, especially about retirement plans.

“The security blanket we’ve got with the state is being taken away,” carpenter Keith Mitchell said “We’re very disgusted with it.” Mitchell, 49, said he has concerns about losing a state retirement plan, which would be replaced by a proposed 401(k) plan. He said he feared the 401(k) is less stable than the pension.

Blackwell: Universities could save money by privatizing services

Source: By PAUL E. KOSTYU COPLEY, Canton Repository (OH), June 7, 2006

COLUMBUS – Ohio’s state colleges and universities could save money by privatizing services now provided by state employees, according to the Republican candidate for governor. J. Kenneth Blackwell also told a gathering of state college trustees Tuesday that they should be able to ignore prevailing wage in construction projects in an approach similar to that of the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which oversees the renovation and construction of primary and secondary schools. ….. Peter Wray of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association said privatization is an old issue and already has been used by the state’s universities. “It’s not a dramatic savings,” he said. Wray said greater savings could be found if universities reduced middle-management positions.

Retirement plan key issue behind petition

Source: By Rachel Leifer, Hattiesburg American (MS), May 26, 2006

A petition 124 physical plant employees signed exhorting University of Southern Mississippi officials not to outsource their jobs to a private firm expresses concern over several issues. Chief among the signatories’ worries is that Aramark’s retirement plan is not competitive with the state employee retirement benefits. “The (state retirement plan) is one of the main reasons so many of us have stayed at USM even though the salaries for many of us are very low,” the petition says.

Negotiations Underway for Direct Hiring of Aramark Workers

by: Veronica Lewis, New University Paper (CA), April 26, 2006

In response to increasing pressure from student and worker groups culminating in a planned candlelight vigil in front of Chancellor Michael Drake’s house on Jan. 26, UC Irvine administrators have determined to employ campus food service workers directly, and to offer them the same benefits as other UC employees. Details of the agreement between workers and administrators are yet to be finalized, but it is likely that the change will come at an increased cost to students.

…… It is estimated that about 170 employees will be affected by the move. Depending on their situations, it will cost between $8,000 and $12,000 annually to bring each worker in-house. The total financial impact on the university will be about $1.7 million each year. The Aramark workers who operate the on-campus dining and food facilities will be required to join the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 labor union once contract terms are finalized.

Despite Arrests, U-Va. Students Devoted to Bettering Workers

Source: By Carol Morello and Susan Kinzie, Washington Post, Wednesday, April 19, 2006

….. Stephen Lerner, who directs the Service Employees International Union’s Justice for Janitors campaign, said students are often the ones calling the union, not the other way around. ….. When the union noticed contractors paying low wages without benefits, he said, it launched a national campaign to pressure institutions to take responsibility for workers’ conditions. ….. That’s because some are not direct employees of the university. Instead, contractors employ them as food servers, janitors and groundskeepers. Casteen has said that under an advisory opinion from Virginia Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R), he does not have the legal authority to raise wages for employees of contractors.

ARAMARK will not bid to renew Duke contract

Source: Rob Copeland, Duke Chronicle, 3/28/06

Campus food provider ARAMARK Corp. has turned down the opportunity to rebid on its contract at the University, company officials and Duke dining administrators confirmed Monday. ……. Several student leaders said they are pleased with the week’s turn-of-events. “I’m surprised that ARAMARK would give up without more of a fight, but after three DUSDAC votes of no confidence…. I can’t say I didn’t expect it,” said senior Andrew Wallace, co-chair of the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee. He noted that the conglomerate also claimed to have never made a profit at Duke in the past five years, which may have been a contributing factor in ARAMARK’s decision to rebid for the job.

The real scandal: moves to privatize higher education

Robert Meister, San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, January 15, 2006

Revelations of secrecy and possible self-dealing in the compensation of some of the University of California’s top administrators expose a problem deeper than the need for more transparent “communication” of the rationale behind them. The more significant issue is the rationale itself: the goal of privatizing higher education in California, which was made explicit in the recent “compact” between University of California President Robert Dynes, California State University Chancellor Charles Reed and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.