Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Public school bus drivers plan protest against job loss, outsourcing

Source: By Joe Cohen, Standard-Times (MA), June 25, 2008 6:00 AM

Union school bus drivers who transport city school children on field trips and to special events plan to protest the threat of their jobs being cut outside Monday’s School Committee meeting at the Keith Middle School. The 14 drivers, members of Local 641 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, are calling on others to join them in a show of support.

…… The School Department already outsources about 45 routes to Tremblay Bus Co., whose drivers are non-union, part-time and do not receive benefits.

Panel sticks with local lunch crowd: Contractor grilled, but cafeteria workers chided, too

Source: By Amanda McGregor, Salem News (MA), June 17, 2008

In a landslide vote, the School Committee opted to keep the school food program in-house, crushing the superintendent’s recommendation to hire a private company to feed Salem students.

…… However, the School Committee made it clear that the cafeteria workers have a year to prove they can run the program without losing money…

……. a group of parents and members of the local Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees Union, which represents the cafeteria workers, designed their own counterproposal. It details an overhauled school food program with broader menus, healthier choices and increased participation. That plan predicts, but does not guarantee, annual revenue of more than $70,000, in addition to built-in funds for equipment repair.

Haverhill pays $200,000 to food provider Loss blamed on failure to raise school lunch prices

Source: By Mike LaBella, Eagle Tribune (MA), June 12, 2008 12:07 am

HAVERHILL — An audit by an outside company shows the schools paid their private food service provider $200,000 this year to cover the company’s financial losses caused by increased food and utility costs.

The city’s auditing agency — Giusti, Hingston & Co. of Georgetown — said the School Department paid Chartwells a cash subsidy because the School Committee did not approve a 25-cent increase in the price of school lunches last fall. Chartwells provides food for school lunches.

Mayor James Fiorentini said the situation spotlights the need to fold the School Department’s financial operation into city government — something he is pushing to save money and improve accountability and efficiency, he said.

More time needed to chew on school lunch plans in Salem

Source: By Amanda McGregor, Salem News (MA), June 03, 2008

Superintendent William Cameron Jr. says schools can’t afford to keep food service in-house and guaranteed it would be cheaper to hire an international company to feed local students.

…… Cameron was responding last night to a plan crafted by union members and parents that details an overhauled school food program with broader menus, healthier choices and increased participation.

……. Deborah Jeffers, the longtime cook at Horace Mann Laboratory School, shed tears after the meeting. “I thought he was harsh,” said Jeffers, who is vice president of the local Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees Union, which represents the cafeteria workers, among other employees. “These are not pie-in-the-sky numbers (we proposed). We backed them up, and we were very conservative.”

Library will not privatize

Source: By Chloe Gotsis, Tewksbury Advocate (MA), Wed May 28, 2008

…….. Three months after the town’s Financial Planning Task Force entrusted the Tewksbury Public Library’s Board of Trustees to investigate the benefits of privatizing the town’s public library, the trustees concluded they cannot support a decision to privatize the library.

…… The board reported if the town privatized its library, it would be burdened by large unemployment costs, since most libraries around the country that are privatized by the country’s primary outsourcer, Library Systems and Service (LSSI), initially layoff all their employees.

Currently, the Germantown, Md.-based LSSI manages 65 privatized libraries in Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and California. The large size of LSSI and its rank as one of the sole outsourcing companies raised some eyebrows among the library trustees, who said they feared this large monopoly put both the town and the trustees in a poor bargaining position.

Union: Privatizing custodians' jobs would likely fail

Source: By Jay Pateakos, Herald News (MA), May 29, 2008 @ 09:43 PM

With the school department slated to privatize the custodial workforce at all the schools by July 1, the union representing the 16 workers set to lose their jobs said other schools across the state have tried this path and failed. The union said the Swansea school system will likely be no different.

…… The custodial union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 93, which represents 35,000 state and municipal workers in the state, rejected the school department’s final contract proposal that would have seen a 12 percent pay raise over a three-year period and an increase in shift differentials because the department sought the power in determining when custodians can return to work after an injury.

Special report: Should the public library no longer be public?

Source: By Chloe Gotsis, Tewksbury Advocate (MA), Wed Apr 02, 2008, 10:32 AM EDT

Tewksbury – As the national economy plunges further into recession, gas prices continue to hike, and the price of living continues to climb, local governments like Tewksbury that are already wrought with fees and cuts are exploring the notion of privatizing the public library.

The notion of privatizing public entities is becoming more common among local governments across the country, libraries have continued to remain traditionally public across the country.

Along with the smaller issue of privatizing public libraries, this argument introduces the question of public entities running other taxpayer and publicly run entities largely under profit-driven reasoning.

Salem school cafeteria workers pan privatization plan

Source: By Amanda McGregor, Salem News (MA), March 24, 2008 11:41 pm

More than a dozen school cafeteria workers — many wearing green AFSCME union T-shirts with gold lettering — gathered at last night’s School Committee meeting and said they worry for their jobs if the school lunch program is privatized.

…… Food service workers say a private company would pay less. They said they currently make roughly $15 an hour.

…… Aramark, Whitsons and Chartwells (Compass Group) were the three companies to submit proposals.

Editorial: Support for libraries overdue

Source: Boston Globe (MA), March 25, 2008

FACED WITH tight budgets, the towns of Dartmouth and Tewksbury are thinking about privatizing their libraries. The impulse is understandable, given anemic revenues and spiraling costs. But libraries should remain wholly public entities.

…… Privatizing libraries elsewhere in the country has yielded mixed results. A private company can only work within the budget that it’s given, and its goal is to spend sparingly, or cut back, in order to make a profit. For example, Library Systems and Services, a Maryland company, manages public libraries in California, Kansas, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas. In some cases, the company has been able to increase hours and expand collections. But in Jackson County, Ore., Library Systems had to cut staff and benefits to adhere to its contract.

……. Massachusetts is home to the nation’s first free public library. That’s a legacy worth preserving. Municipal belt-tightening only goes so far. It’s up to the taxpaying public to make the investment – to protect a vital source of information and insight.

2 Big Dig Companies to Pay $407 Million

Source: By ABBY GOODNOUGH, New York Times, January 24, 2008

The two companies that managed the design and construction of the costly Big Dig project here will pay more than $400 million in an agreement with the government over leaky tunnels and a fatal ceiling collapse.

US Attorney Office – District of Massachusetts news release: Big Dig Management Consultant and Designers To Pay $450 Million (.pdf)