Category Archives: Custodial

Union janitors to return to City Hall, with less pay

Source: Daniel DeBolt, Mountain View Voice, June 28, 2013

The janitors who lost their jobs cleaning the city’s buildings this year may be rehired by a surprisingly cheap union contractor this summer. City Council members on Tuesaday declined to require that their wages and benefits be restored. The council was asked to weigh in on the issue of pay after janitors picketed City Hall in November. After a fallout with the previous contractor, GCA, over the city’s willingness to pay for rising healthcare costs, the city had switched temporarily to a non-union janitorial services contractor, IMS, which significantly cut pay and hours, and eliminated healthcare benefits for the five city janitors it rehired…

…”It’s tough to live on $8.50 an hour in this region,” said Dennis Drodge, political director of the South Bay AFL-CIO, referring to the starting wage on the SEIU scale. “That’s why San Jose raised the minimum wage.” Mayor Inks questioned the assertion that $8.50 an hour was not enough to live on….
Mountain View’s next janitorial services contract to pay union-scale wages
Source: Jason Green, Daily News, June 27, 2013

Union supporters fill Steelton-Highspire School Board meeting to urge officials against contracting custodial services

Source: Julianne Mattera,, June 20, 2013

More than a dozen people in Kelly green American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees T-shirts filled the Steelton-Highspire School Board meeting audience Thursday night. Though school and union officials alike said only a couple present worked at the school district, union supporters said they turned out to urge school board members not to contract out custodial services because they feared doing so would furlough district employees. Currently, the school district and AFSCME local 1086 are in contract negotiations concerning 11 custodial employees at Steelton-Highspire, Superintendent Audrey Utley said. Their contract is set to expire June 30. Utley said the school district had put out some requests for proposals concerning contracting out those services to get an idea of how much that could save the district. Though the school board is aware those requests went out, proposals have not been presented to the school board. If the board did decide to contract custodial services, it would affect nine out of the 11 employees, Utley said.

16 union members may not keep their jobs with subcontractor at Waterbury Hospital

Source: David Krechevsky, American-Republican, June 17, 2013

The union representing more than 160 workers employed by a Waterbury Hospital subcontractor said Monday that a new subcontractor says it won’t hire 16 longtime union members. Waterbury Hospital announced last month it had signed a new contract for non-medical patient services with The Compass Group of Charlotte, N.C., and two subsidiaries — food-service provider Morrison Management Specialists of Mobile, Ala., and Crothall Healthcare of Wayne, Pa., which provides housekeeping and patient transport services. The new contract takes effect Thursday, replacing one with Sodexo Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md., that was due to expire the next day. Sodexo employs 173 full- and part-time workers, most of whom formerly were hospital employees. …

Morrison Management previously notified the Sodexo workers it will recognize the union only “if members of the current bargaining unit make up a majority of the workforce” it hires, and that current employees are “all strongly encouraged to apply” for positions with the new company. According to Chernoff, company officials informed union negotiators Friday they would not hire 16 workers — all with lengthy seniority in the union — and want significant changes in any new contract from the one the union has with Sodexo.

“There was a list of nine or 10 things they wanted to get rid of,” Chernoff said. “A big one is the pension; they want to get rid of it and switch everyone into a 401(k).” Another big change, she said, is The Compass Group and its units want to change when a union worker becomes eligible for benefits from the current minimum of working 20 hours per week to more than 30 hours….

Insourcing: Reclaiming Public Control

Source: In the Public Interest, Backgrounder Brief, May 2013

From the abstract:
This backgrounder brief provides examples of cases where, when cost savings aren’t realized or service quality declines, many governmental entities are turning to reverse privatization, or “insourcing,” to bring contracted functions back in-house. It explains the benefits of insourcing for the general public interest and addresses examples from multiple levels of government across a wide array of sectors including corrections, water, IT services, and more. It includes an appendix with more examples.

BOE approves three-year contract with janitorial service company

Source: Kristina Scala,, June 11, 2013

Moorestown Board of Education members approved a three-year contract with ABM, a janitorial service company, outsourcing the night custodial staff at William Allen Middle School….According to business administrator Lynn Shugars, the contract would save the district approximately $120,00 per year, or $360,000 total. ABM would replace four night custodians at the school…According to Trapani, formal complaints surrounding missing items, uncleanliness and other issues were filed about the ABM custodial service. According to board president Don Mishler, the school district outsources other services such as bus drivers, lunch staff and grounds personnel….AMB currently provides evening custodial services in all the elementary schools and a portion of the high school, Shugars said.

Ex-Goldman Sachs janitor sues for being forced into post-Hurricane Sandy destruction

Source: Barbara Ross, Alfred Ng and Corky Siemaszko, New York Daily News, June 7, 2013

Mefit ‘Mike’ Zecevic claims he was thrown out of the safety of the building by a drunk supervisor and then fired after a claim he took $100 from another worker — which he strongly denies…. Zecevic says Goldman Sachs’ janitorial firm, ABM Industries, then fired him for allegedly stealing $100 from the discarded shirt of a co-worker who now has his job — a charge he denies. Now Zecevic, 42, is suing ABM for $10 million and fighting to get his job back…..A month after the storm, Zecevic got a letter from AMB Industries saying he was fired for stealing “tenant property.” Zecevic’s lawyer, William Perniciaro, said what ABM Industries did to his client was a new low. “I’ve done this work a long time and I thought I had seen everything,” he said. “I have never seen an employer knowingly jeopardize some one’s life.”…

Franklin schools considers privatizing services

Source: Maria Giordano, Tennessean, June 10, 2013

A handful of high-dollar expenses are behind a $1.4 million increase in the Franklin Special School District’s proposed general operating budget for the 2013-2014 school year….The reasons for the increase are the usual ones, including higher health care costs, workers’ compensation claims and state mandated salary increases, to name a few. …. Currently, there are 30 custodians working for the district, some with as little as 4 months of service and one who has 30 years. With salaries, benefits and other cleaning costs, the district budgets about $1.6 million for the work. The lowest bidder, custodial company GCA Services Group, says they can do it for $928,632, bringing about a projected savings of about $667,468….If the school board approves the cost saving measure, existing custodial workers would have first shot at jobs on GCA’s staff, McAdams said. But they would have to essentially reapply for their positions…

Custodial outsourcing going before Board

Source: Hillary Garvin, Beloit Daily News, June 4, 2013

According to the latest numbers from the School District of Beloit, outsourcing their custodians and maintenance staff would save the district $3.1 million over the first five years, while cost savings offered by Local 1475 AFSCME, AFL-CIO, the union representing the custodians, would only save $663,558….Those in favor of the outsourcing say the long-term savings are significantly greater by going with private vendor ABM, although AFSCME staff representative Jeff Middleton said the cost of selling the district’s assets and losing local control outweigh the savings. Middleton also said the district has shifted numbers over the past weeks in regard to how much ABM would actually save the district. Middleton went on to say the list of equipment, paid for by taxpayer dollars, should be made public. Trucks, mowers and other equipment will be given to the private vendors as part of the contract….

…According to the district’s numbers, outsourcing would save the district $3.1 million because of labor savings, worker’s compensation premium savings, cleaning chemical savings, VEBA trust allocation and equipment pay outs. The district would receive about $50,000 a year for 60 months for the equipment it is transferring to ABM as part of the potential contract. The union’s proposal would save $663,558 because of no vacation payouts for 2012-2013; no transfer of funds from HRA to HSA; no offer of payout for employees with more than 60 days of accrued sick leave; reduction of 10 paid leave days to seven; two custodial position cuts through attrition; pay freeze for all unit members, performing painting services, voluntary employees’ beneficiary association (VEBA) trust allocations and a reduction in starting wage. Middleton said outsourcing rarely achieves what it is proposed at the beginning….

District will privatize custodial services

Source: Tim Croft, Star, May 23, 2013

The business of whittling the bottom line became tangible Monday for the Gulf County School Board. During a special meeting, board members unanimously approved privatizing custodial services for at least the next school year, hoping to save $80,000-$100,000 as the district addresses a budget shortfall of nearly $900,000…. The process, though not formally ratified during Monday’s meeting, is to “piggy-back” on a similar move and contract from Bay County, Norton said. Bay County went out for qualifications and bids and four companies applied. Bay County School District chose the lowest bidder, GCA Education Services out of Knoxville, TN….The privatization will impact 11-12 employees, who will be laid off by the district….He said the largest impact would be that the employees would no longer be paying into the Florida public employees retirement system though those vested would maintain their current balances.

School district will not privatize custodial services: 11 jobs preserved

Source: Aebra Coe, Petoskey News, May 14, 2013

Boyne City Public Schools will not privatize custodial services next school year. That was the unanimous agreement of the district board of education at its meeting Monday. By rejecting privatization, the district’s eight full-time and three of five part-time custodial employees will keep their jobs. The decision by the board came following a lengthy workshop session one week earlier during which custodial staff members offered up major concessions to their contracts. Those concessions will result in a $128,000 reduction in spending. Board members were seriously considering the move to a private firm for cleaning services after learning it could save the district $195,000 the first year of a three year contract, compared to the 2012-13 school year….