Category Archives: Insourcing/municipalization

Guilford County Schools pay bus drivers to clean buses

Source: Amber Roberts, Fox 8, July 19, 2016

Guilford County Schools is testing out a new program. They’re hiring bus drivers to deep-clean the roughly 750 buses used during the school year. In past years, bus drivers have been responsible for cleaning their own buses and turning them in at the end of the school year. However, Guilford County Schools Transportation Director Jeff Harris has decided to take a new approach to getting the buses thoroughly cleaned. … The school system is spending about $54,000 out of their budget to pay bus drivers and to purchase the equipment needed. Going to a commercial site to get the buses cleaned could cost $300,000, Harris said. This program gives employees the opportunity to work this summer and receive additional income. Workers come in from 7 a.m. until noon to clean. They clean about 100 buses a week. …

Lansing ends privatized parts deal at city garage

Source: Eric Lacy, Lansing State Journal, July 15, 2016

The City of Lansing will terminate its relationship with a private company to supply and manage parts at the central garage because the effort “hasn’t met our expectations for cost savings,” Mayor Virg Bernero said Friday in a press from his office. A licensing agreement with NAPA is expected to end sometime in the next 30 days. Bernero said in the press release that the city decided to end the agreement after several weeks of careful financial analysis. … The city’s central garage manages and supplies parts for items and vehicles ranging from chainsaws and lawnmowers to ambulances and police cars. After Bernero’s announcement, Dennis Parker, president of UAW Local 2256 and a city employee, told the Lansing State Journal he applauds the decision. Bernero pushed for the city’s contract with NAPA over the winter — authorizing three NAPA employees to work in the garage — and estimated  that the contract could save “50,000 to $150,000” and “greatly increase efficiency” in an interview with the LSJ on Feb. 25. No city employees lost their jobs when NAPA moved in, but the UAW did lose two bargaining unit positions in the garage because two city employees were reassigned by Bernero’s administration to operations and maintenance duties. …

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….

Redondo Beach ends partnership with McCormick Ambulance, will set up in-house service

Source: Kelcie Pegher, Daily Breeze, June 27, 2016

The city of Redondo Beach has decided to establish its own ambulance service, replacing McCormick Ambulance Service after a 10-year run at year’s end. The City Council recently approved Fire Chief Robert Metzger’s proposal after he reported that McCormick had upped its rates for basic life support and advanced life support by 21 and 18 percent, respectively. City officials soon will approach the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services seeking permission to start its own ambulance service, which would pay 30 part-time employees about $15 an hour. Start-up costs for creating a Redondo Beach ambulance service are hefty — $764,000, including buying vehicles and technology for the project. Metzger estimated that it will up to two years before the city would see a profit from the in-house service. But once it does, he expects that, on average, the city could bring in $400,000 a year in revenue for the next decade. The cost for the first year and recurring operating expenses would be about $1.3 million. …

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Redondo Beach explores taking over ambulance services
Source: Megan Barnes, Daily Breeze, March 5, 2016

Redondo Beach officials want to bring ambulance services in-house after years of contracting with a private company. With McCormick Ambulance’s 10-year contract with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services set to expire at the end of the year, Redondo Beach Fire Chief Robert Metzger got the green light from the City Council last week to put together a bid due May 4. Though McCormick has performed “acceptably,” Metzger said he believes turning transportation and basic life support services over to the Fire Department will benefit the beach community and bring in more revenue for city services. … If Redondo fire wins, the department would be responsible for some 3,400 transportation calls annually and could expect gross billings of $3.5 million, Metzger said. Billing services would be outsourced. Metzger believes revenues would cover staffing and operating costs. The city would have to spend about $555,000 on three ambulances and equipment.

Mid-County Ambulance District to exit contract with Mercy LifeStar

Source: Marie Thomas Baird, Sentinel-Tribune, June 30, 2016

The Mid-County Ambulance District is separating from its contract with Mercy LifeStar Ambulance, but plans to continue providing emergency medical services. … The ambulance district, which serves Plain, Portage and Center townships plus the village of Portage, has been in business since 1992. But Mercy LifeStar wants to double its contract fees with the district, leading leaders to opt out and become an independent provider. … Bechstein pointed out that Grand Rapids Township left Mercy LifeStar last year after not receiving a new bid for service, “so we’re talking about going out on our own” too. He estimated the district has 40 runs each month, many on the interstate and Ohio routes that cut through its service area. … To renew the contract that expires Dec. 31, it would cost nearly double, he added. Their current contract with Mercy LifeStar is $198,654, according to Denise Foos. The district owns the building on County Home Road but Mercy LifeStar owns the vehicles and pays the salaries. The employees on staff with Mercy LifeStar want to work for the district, he said. …

Sun City will honor existing resident ambulance contracts

Source: Rusty Bradshaw, Sun City Independent, May 30, 2016

As Sun City Fire and Medical Department officials gear up for ambulance service, they are dealing with squelching inaccurate impressions from residents. Department staff fielded more than 20 calls in late-May from residents concerned bout losing services because they believed their contracts with American Medical Response were ending. Ambulance service, once it begins under the Sun City Fire District, will remain much the same, aside from being more efficient, according to Mike Thompson, Sun City fire chief. … The chief said Sun City would honor any AMR contracts once they begin service, and would honor any contracts that are not renewed at the time of service. …

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Key hurdle removed to Sun City Fire and Medical Dept.’s new ambulance service
Source: Jeff Grant, Daily News-Sun, March 15, 2016

The private ambulance carrier serving Sun City has dropped its opposition to the Sun City Fire and Medical Department running its own service, removing a key hurdle to the latter’s providing emergency ambulances as early as this year. … Thompson said the decision leaves the SCFMD’s application for a ground ambulance Certificate of Necessity with no outside opposition. It also sends the application to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ. … AMR’s decision marks an about face from June 2015, when the company’s predecessor, Rural Metro, sought to block Sun City Fire and Medical’s application.

Campus insources workers after ongoing plans

Source: Kimberly Nielson, The Daily Californian, May 16, 2016

After seven months of protests by campus employees and students, UC Berkeley finalized plans to insource 69 campus workers from three private contract companies last week. The decision to insource workers was part of the Fair Wage/Fair Work Plan, a broader university movement aiming to support campus employees and raise their salaries, campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore said in an email. She added that campus officials have coordinated with AFSCME, a labor union representing UC workers, to work out appointment details since March. The campus has offered employment to all formerly contracted night shift and athletic custodians, as well as campus parking attendants contracted through LAZ Parking, according to Gilmore. She also noted that workers from ABM and Performance First were also given priority employment with the university. … Campus officials will also discontinue contracting additional parking or custodial workers for the remainder of the existing service agreement, extending their efforts to remedy “grotesque injustice” endured by contracted workers on campus, according to Stenhouse. …

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Opinion: Union calls for reasonable reform at UC
Source: Katherine Lybarger, President of AFSCME Local 3299, Sacramento Bee, May 8, 2016

As a widening scandal involving misuse of public funds and other ethical breaches by its top brass grips the University of California, The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board criticized UC’s largest employee union for advocating greater scrutiny of potential conflicts of interest at UC (“Let’s step back from UC Davis turmoil”; May 1). The board also criticized AFSCME Local 3299 for legislation that would encourage UC elites to stop squandering public funds on private contractors that exploit low-wage workers. There are thousands of contract custodians, landscapers, food service workers and others who do the same full-time jobs as direct UC employees for a fraction of the pay and no benefits. Instead of bringing these workers in-house, UC has fought to ensure its well-connected contractors continue to profit by condemning legions of these workers to lives of poverty and second-class status. … UC has recently told the Legislature that providing livable wages and direct employment to contract workers affected by Senate Bill 959 wouldn’t cost UC a dollar more. In fact, they’ve said it might even save money since $138 million of the $345 million that UC spends on such deals is squandered on overhead and contractor profits. In other words, the editorial board’s assertions about SB 959 simply do not add up. …

Campus sheds light on rationale for insourcing formerly subcontracted workers
Source: Ericka Shin, The Daily Californian, March 30, 2016

The campus already had plans in the works to insource or fill vacant positions for at least 55 custodians prior to the recent agreement, but the March 18 decision has resulted in the campus offering jobs to an additional 14 custodians and 24 parking attendants, according to an email from Mogulof. Among these newly insourced employees are the 69 workers employed by ABM, PerformanceFirst and LAZ Parking who are being officially insourced as UC employees, according to Kristian Kim, a member of the campus’s Student Labor Committee. The agreement also stipulates that the campus will not contract out regularized parking or custodial work through June 30, 2017, Mogulof said in an email.

UC Berkeley Agrees to Hire Subcontracted Workers After Threats of Boycott
Source: Josh Lefler, The Guardian, March 27, 2016

The University of California hires at least 45 different private companies to fill staffing positions across the UC campuses in the areas of custodial work, food services, landscaping, security, parking and more, according to an AFSCME 3299 report. The same report concluded that these workers are paid as little as 53 percent less than workers who are employed directly by the University of California and do not receive the same benefits. The nearly 100 subcontracted workers, who were just recently hired by the university, were described as having “more than 440 years of combined experience working at UC Berkeley,” but were paid below the wage of an official UC employee, according to Stenhouse.

UC Berkeley reaches labor agreement on contract workers
Source: Tom Lochner, Contra Costa Times, March 18, 2016

UC Berkeley, in what one of its unions hailed as a “historic victory for contract workers,” has agreed to offer direct employment to all regular night shift and athletics custodians currently working at the institution through private contractors, the university announced Friday. As part of the agreement, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 will end its “speakers boycott,” the university said. Under the boycott, AFSCME objected to speakers with engagements at the campus. … The union said 93 custodial and parking workers fall under the agreement. The university said it will offer to hire all campus stack parking attendants currently employed through LAZ Parking. …

Subcontracted campus workers insourced as UC employees, ending speakers’ boycott
Source: Adrienne Shih, The Daily Californian, March 18, 2016

After nearly seven months of campaigning, 69 previously subcontracted workers have officially been insourced as UC employees, ending an ongoing campus speakers’ boycott. The workers — employed by ABM, PerformanceFirst and LAZ Parking — were previously a part of the University of California’s two-tier employment policy. The campus employs some individuals directly, or in-house, while others who do temporary or seasonal work are employed as subcontracted workers, receiving reduced pay and fewer benefits than their directly employed counterparts.
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Morton Hospital bans psych subcontractor in wake of rampage

Source: Jennifer Miller, Boston Herald, May 12, 2016

“Effective today, Morton Hospital has banned the state selected sub-contractor Norton Emergency Services AKA Taunton Attleboro Emergency Services (NES/TAES) from evaluating or recommending treatment for any patient at Morton Hospital,” Morton Hospital spokesperson Michele Fasano said in a statement. “During the period of 12:30A.M. to 8:00 A.M. this morning, NES/TAES failed to evaluate multiple patients in our Emergency Department in a timely way and when Morton Hospital proposed to do the evaluations ourselves we were rebuffed or ignored by the subcontractor. This inability of the state subcontractor to provide critical and timely services continues to put patients at risk.” … Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders told the Herald yesterday the Department of Public Health is investigating procedures at Morton Hospital, where relatives say a depressed and delusional Arthur DaRosa, 28, checked in Monday night but was discharged early Tuesday morning to the family’s surprise. Authorities say DaRosa then stabbed two people in a home on Myricks Street — killing an 80-year-old woman and injuring her daughter — Tuesday night before driving four miles, crashing a car into the front entrance of a Macy’s department store at the Silver City Galleria, and getting out to attack several others, including inside a restaurant, killing a 56-year-old teacher, authorities said.

“NES/TAES is subcontracted through MassHealth and is charged by law with the responsibility of evaluating MassHealth patients who enter the Morton Hospital Emergency Department,” Fasano said in the statement. “Morton Hospital has previously advocated to utilize our own hospital credentialed and vetted medical personnel to conduct such evaluations as it does with Blue Cross, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts, and other payers. However, state policy has mandated that these evaluations be carried out by third party subcontractors such as NES/TAES. …

Township of Langley Arenas brought back in-house

Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees, April 13, 2016

UPE 403 is proud to announce that after nearly 20 years two arenas in the Township of Langley will once again be operated in-house. The George Preston Recreation Centre and the Aldergrove Community Arena will both be staffed by CUPE 403 members starting July 1, 2016. … Whyte says that community members with a ‘Go Active’ will now be able to use the pass at both the George Preston Recreation Centre and the Aldergrove Community Arena and that the Township is planning to increase programming at the facilities. Residents will now also be able to pay for municipal services such as taxes, dog licenses, and burning permits at George Preston Recreation Centre. Currently the two arenas are operated by private for profit contractor Canadian Recreation Excellence (Rec Ex). Their contract with the Township expires on June 30 and will not be renewed.

Bankruptcy of TransCare Strains New York’s Emergency Services

Source: Jim Dwyer, New York Times, April 14, 2016

For now, the city has patched the problem, though the medics are starting to become frayed from the extra hours or the trips to boroughs outside their regular assignments, and warm weather, the busiest time of the year for medical emergencies, is coming up. Mr. Miranda’s union — with support from, among others, Elizabeth Crowley, the chairwoman of the City Council’s fire and criminal justice committee, and the city comptroller, Scott M. Stringer — is arguing that the use of private ambulances is a false economy, and that the city should hire enough of its own workers. … It also raises the kinds of questions that elected officials prefer to duck: There are fewer and fewer fires, and more and more medical emergencies, but there are twice as many firefighters as there are emergency medical workers. The two services were merged in March 1996, but there was only piecemeal integration. Firefighters now respond to many medical calls, and get there quicker than ambulances. For the most part, though, they do not have advanced training and cannot transport patients. It costs, on average, nearly four times as much to send a fire engine to a medical call as an ambulance, according to a report by the Citizens Budget Commission. …

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EMTs, paramedics lost final paychecks after private ambulance company Transcare went bankrupt
Source: Ginger Adams Otis, New York Daily News, Apil 1, 2016

EMTs and paramedics who lost their jobs when private ambulance company Transcare went bankrupt in February also lost their final paychecks — because they bounced, according to court papers filed in the Bronx Friday. … Pena said Transcare’s management knew full well it was going to have to shut down — but didn’t tell workers the situation was dire. He said the company had a conference call around Feb. 20 and told employees things looked bad. …

NYC looks to scale back from private ambulances after abrupt shutdown of Transcare left FDNY in lurch
Source: Erin Durkin, New York Daily News, March 10, 2016

The city is looking at reducing its reliance on private ambulances after the abrupt shutdown of one of the largest companies left the FDNY in the lurch, Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. Transcare, a private contractor, went bankrupt last month — taking 81 ambulance tours off the street. … Asked if the city should scrap the use of private operators altogether, Nigro said, “those exact discussions are right now going on between our department and City Hall as to moving forward how do we avoid this situation.” …

TransCare ambulance facing ‘payroll crisis’
Source: Matt Coyne, The Journal News, July 7, 2015

The company responsible for providing many Hudson Valley communities with ambulance service is having a hard time paying its employees. After what Chief Executive Officer Glenn Leland called a sudden change in bank policy late last week, TransCare, which has contracts with White Plains, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Putnam County, was unable to pay their employees as scheduled. In a letter to employees dated July 6, Leland said his Brooklyn-based company was experiencing a “short-term payroll crisis.” “You will be paid every penny you are owed for all your work for TransCare, past, present and future,” the letter read. “The question is not if you will be paid, but instead when you will be paid.” Tuesday afternoon Leland told The Journal News that in lieu of keeping a traditional bank account, due to inconsistent cash flow, the company takes out loans to pay expenses, then pays them down when payments from customers, insurance companies and patients are received.