Thursday, June 26, 2014

4 Reasons Why You Will Mostly See New Custodians in the Ann Arbor Schools Next Year

With the rapid privatization and outsourcing of custodial services in the Ann Arbor schools to GCA (assuming that goes through), you can expect that most of us will not see the same custodians in our schools in the fall.

Here are 4 reasons why.

1. Some of them will retire.

2. Some of them are very angry at the way they have been treated by the school system, particularly given the fact that they have taken pay cuts over the last few years, and they were given very very little notice that this would happen. Some of them would therefore prefer to take unemployment and look for other jobs.

I spoke to someone in that situation. She said to me, "I bought a house in Ann Arbor, I pay Ann Arbor school taxes, and now I'm treated this way?"

3. Most custodians would have their pay cut if they go to GCA Services--not to mention that they will lose their retirement benefits in any case.

4. It is not in GCA's interest to hire the majority of the custodians back. One person told me--I have not verified this yet--that if they hired more than 50% of the custodians back they would need to recognize the AFSCME union. (Even if this is not true, though, it is obviously true that if the custodians were happy with their union, the more custodians they hire from the union shop the more likely the custodians are to try and organize. GCA is recognized as fairly negative to unions, so that is not something they will want to do.)

[See, for instance:  GCA Services Enters Federal Consent Decree to Remedy Wide Ranging Accusations of Labor Law Violations]

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014, some of the labor groups held a press conference before the school board meeting. You can listen to what custodian Toni Lemons had to say here.

[I think you will have to download it. This was my first try at embedding an audio file but I am not yet wholly successful.]

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  1. Ruth, It's a nice post except for the fact you don't write anything about the separate schools for special ed kids, part. Kind of anti-IDEA, don't you think?
    Maria Huffman

  2. I can't quite figure out your sign on for commenting very well. So I'm using the anonymous thing, and I'm not being anonymous. Sorry.

  3. Except I forgot to write my last name in the last post! Maria Huffman

  4. Maria, I didn't write anything about separate schools for special ed students so I am confused...