War Is On In Custodian Negotiations
by Melissa Bailey | Jun 25, 2010 7:25 am
Posted to: Business/ Economic Development, Schools
Three hours after school custodians blasted the city for threatening to privatize their jobs, the city released a counterattack: It revealed results of a surprise inspection that found custodians watching TV while they were supposed to be at work.
The strike and counter-strike came as the school board and school custodians union stand at a deadlock over negotiations on a new labor contract. Custodians in AFSCME Council 4 Local 287 have been working without a contract since June 30, 2009. Superintendent Reggie Mayo said at the last school board meeting that he’s counting on at least $1.5 million in concessions for the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Negotiations were already “on the verge of disaster” before Thursday, said Local 287 President Robert Montuori (pictured).
He accused the city of trying to intimidate workers and punish the union for opposing privatization.
As negotiations stall, the city is moving forward toward privatization: It sent out a request for proposals in December, seeking bids on a custodial services contract for the schools. Eight bids came in; the district has identified GCA Services Group, Inc. out of Pennsburg, Penn. as its preferred bidder.
Custodians held a press event at noon Thursday to launch the beginning of an anti-privatization campaign. The union put up eight billboards across town with the message: “Privatization Equals Corruption.”
Custodians argue privatization would lead to lower wages, lost jobs, and wasted taxpayer money on costly management contracts. They’ve been showing up regularly at school board meetings to deliver that message: Click here to read more.
The Board of Education has already moved toward privatization: It contracts a private company to clean the BOE central office as well as a half-dozen school buildings.
Custodial services are currently managed by a private firm called AFB. The school board is looking for a subcontractor to act as another layer of management above custodians. The subcontractor would have the option of hiring non-union custodians. According to the Request for Proposals, union members would be considered for the privatized jobs, but would not be guaranteed a job. Union workers still fear that positions, benefits and wages would be cut.
Meanwhile, the city Thursday announced its own campaign—to crack down on “insubordination,” “ineffectiveness” and “apathetic attitudes” within the unionized custodial force.
A strongly worded press release sent out by Mayor John DeStefano’s office Thursday at 3 p.m. announced that 14 workers would be disciplined as a result of a surprise inspection performed last week. On June 17 at 10:30 p.m., AFB paid a surprise visit to custodians who were working the night shift at Hillhouse High School, Cross High School, the Hillhouse Fieldhouse and the Fair Haven School.
The inspection was timed to take place half an hour before the end of the shift, and during the final game of the NBA championship between the L.A. Lakers and the Boston Celtics. Of the 17 workers who were scheduled to be on the job that night, only one was working, according to mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga. Two couldn’t be located, and the rest were either not working or were watching the Celtics’ defeat, she said in a statement.
Inspectors found signs of unfinished work, according to Mayorga: “In many locations, trash had not been emptied, bathrooms not clean and restocked, lights were left on.”
Mayorga said the incident pointed to a broader problem: “This activity has become representative of the type of insubordination and ineffectiveness of the current custodial corps of New Haven Public Schools.” On an average day, 25 percent of city school custodians are absent from work, costing the city an extra $2.2 million, she wrote.
President Montuori acknowledged a problem, but called it a “management problem.” AFP gets paid $1.1 million to manage the custodial work. Montuori said the surprise visit may be the first time AFP representatives ever set foot in the building.
“If a person never sees a supervisor or a manager, what do you think is going to happen?” he asked.
Schools Chief Operating Officer Will Clark rejected that characterization. He said AFP does spend a lot of time in the school buildings. Custodians shouldn’t need to be told to do their jobs, he argued.
“They get paid to clean the buildings—they should show up and clean the buildings,” Clark said. “I shouldn’t have to show up and watch them and make them clean the buildings!”
Clark said the district has found that in the buildings where the city has already privatized custodial work, the district saves at least two-thirds of the cost of using union-only labor, “and the work gets done.”
“I get zero complaints about the cleanliness in those buildings,” Clark said, while he gets complaints every day about the other buildings, where the union workers clean.
Clark said given the efficiency and good results, it makes sense to continue to privatize the custodial work. He said language in the custodian’s current contract allows the district to further privatize after June 30, 2009. His said the district doesn’t need union consent in order to privatize, but it is still negotiating in good faith.
Montuori disagreed on that point. He said further privatization would require a change to the union’s contract language.
Montuori said the surprise inspection was another example of the school board using intimidation tactics to force negotiations. He made that allegation, about a different situation, in a formal labor complaint against Clark.
Montuori said he later withdrew the complaint in the spirit of cooperation.
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I would like to see the Mayor go after the police union in the same fashion.
Let me just say as a taxpayer I agree with the Union.Where is management they cry about absenteeism and stuff but why has nothing been done.Yes people are supposed to come to work and do their jobs however we all know that don’t always work out that way.That would be why we have management and supervisors.I am sorry if this is what the city pays this management company for then who needs them.I also find the timeing of this to be suspect at best.This is another set up attack on the working middle class people
Nice to see the Alders lining up to support the Union’s right to get paid for not working. It is the New Haven politics that has allowed this charade to go on for too long. Kudos for whoever is willing to finally take on the bloated Union contract and inefficiency. I hope politics does not, once again, put the taxpayer last.
On the one hand you have millions of dollars in savings, no issues with insubordination, absenteeism, workman’s compensation, pension, high priced medical and the like. On the other hand you have the continuation of a battle between an expectation to work and a desire to not work endorsed by the political hacks that we call our elected officials.
If there was a different supervisor do you really think these guys would work? They have their buddies in office to protect them while the taxpayer takes the hit.
Companies are chomping at the bit to do this work for less and with more efficiency. Banks, malls, hospital, City Hall, office buildings all have figured this out. The current practice is simply not cost effective and is not getting the job done.
The current contract allows for targeted privatization and it has worked. This needs to be expanded now with the savings going back to the overburdened taxpayer as opposed to going into the pockets of these slackers. Let them watch all the TV they want on their dime while someone else who has an ounce of pride in their job and themselves cleans the schools.
In any place of business you have a few workers that have to be constantly watched,and the city along with the union can fix the problem very easy,The head custodian has to be able to write up their assistants,there were many occasions that I had a problem with custodians and I was powerless to do anything but call a supervisor that would not want to hear it and I was left twiddling my thumbs,also if this corrupt mayor and his cronies are wanting to privatize they Willl find every reason under the sun to do so,There were many times this mayor came to us for money and we helped every time only to get hosed every time there are things he and Mr Clark done that were illegal,I believe,with promising a job to our old president to making a deal with the old 3144 president,they are looking for their kickbacks they are almost done building schools no more money from construction companies,so with privatizing they will have a kickback each year from many private companies,a private company over yet another private company,the state needs to get involved and investigate this mayor he has been in way too long and everyone knows he is corrupt,this is hurting the taxpayers from all the shabby work on the new schools to save money because the kickbacks were big,the schools leak water from day one,the private company has illegals ready to work thanks to the taxpayers money for ID cards,PARENTS BEWARE no back-round checks look into it ,no insurance,what kind of diseases will these workers be carring,and I would not believe Clark about the schools with non union workers with no complaints,I have been at those schools and spoke with kitchen staff and they have plenty of complaints,any problems can be fixed,but when there are corrupt politicians they only want money in their pockets,this mayor does not care that we spend our money in the small mom and pop stores in new haven,he does not really truly care about new haven,its his piggy bank and he has been reaping his reward from the taxpayers for years,we need a new young man that will run for mayor and get rid of the clown.
this pisses me off… I do believe that the custodians get 2 15 minute breaks, and 30 minutes for lunch. It doesn’t matter when they take them or how they take them, so who’s to say they were not on a lunch break. Second, you come in at 1030 at night when the shift is over at 11.. come on, they don’t get some time to wash up, and get ready to go home.. I will put money, better yet, I will put my house up, that Will Clark, the Mayor and everyone else, takes time to clean up , or have a coffee break. you cant tell me they work every minute of every hour of every day. so they are the pot calling the kettle black. I agree there are bums on the job, but not everyone should suffer.. get rid of the ones who are the problem.. also what about the equipment that we have to use, you say we do a lousy job, well you as management do not give us the proper tools, I have been using the same wet mop for 6 months now, I have brought my own vaccum that I bought out of my pocket, because the ones we have dont work, or the fact that our bathrooms are not stocked.. how can we stock them if we dont have the supplies, every time we order, we get an O/S next to the item.. O/S ” out of stock” so you see, you want everyone to believe its us when bottom line it starts at the top… I could go on and on.. I wish someone would give us the interview they give upper management, whats fair is fair…
sad how the democratic machine turns on the motors that keep it running. three-fifths is right: watch out teachers, will clark wants to bust your union too. why can’t the city get garth harries to create an evaluation system for the custodians? that way they get feedback and a chance to keep their job before some hack operation in pennsylvania takes over. where do the yale unions stand in all this?
Here are my observations on this issue:
1. If Mayor DeStefano wants to crack down on in-effectiveness and apathetic attitudes among city employees, DeStefano should look in the mirror first and then to his immediate staff covered by his million dollar budget. They are the highest paid people in the city and the least effective as executive managers. The sum total of their experience has come at New Haven taxpayer’s expense and they have learned damned little on our dime. This especially includes the mayor whose inability to control his spending/borrowing has us near bankruptcy, while sheltering corruption in the police department, the tax collector’s office and the marshall’s service to name but a few of the recent follies, despite the cost to the city and its residents and businesses.
When handed a preliminary report on rampant, gross, abusive and documented extortion and abuse of the public trust at the hands of one of his friends, what does the mayor do? He hides the report, tells his staff to have a fire side chat with the offender, Peter Criscuolo and then hires the shake-down expert again. And it is likely he expects Peter, Peter, the business eater, to keep turning out votes and raising money for his re-election.
2. AFB is a disaster as a management company. If they are paid $100,000 per month to manage a small crew of 180 people, and still have dirty schools and poor attendance, there is something seriously wrong with their management ability. The custodial offenders should have their files documented; they should be written up; and if their behavior didn’t change, they should be fired. It’s my understanding the city never wins arbitration because they fail to take action, document the files and follow appropriate HR standards of discipline. One thing is sure, AFB is paid a lot of money to manage a few buildings and a small staff and produce results. If they don’t, fire AFB first.
3. The custodian situation also says a lot about the BOE’s top managers’ inability to control its staff and contractors. Again, if AFB can’t get the job done, they should be fired. Why haven’t they been terminiated for non-performance? More importantly, is why in hell do we need a third party to manage such a small staff of custodians? For the kind of money we’re paying AFB, they should be working the same hours as the custodians and checking the work constantly.
3. And Will Clark, sorry, but managing people requires that you check their work and audit their results. If you have any doubt, visit one of your good schools and find out how those principals get results. Clue: they patrol the hallways; they visit the classrooms and they interact positively with the custodians, parents, teachers and students. They do it all constantly. I would not be surprised to find that the poorest custodial performance is likely in the poorest run schools. I have children in both - Cross and Edgewood. Cross is where there has been constant principal turnover, the school is stuffed with 7 assistant principals none of whom want the top job for some reason, and yet, school personnel are so unmotivated, they can’t even bother to close the windows all winter long. It has been designated a drop out factory. On the other hand, Edgewood is a top performer, has stable and excellent management and close working relationships with the custodian, parents, teachers and children.
By the way, where are the monthly management reports from AFB? Do they have anybody on duty at night or do they just audit the work when DeStefano/Clark/Mayo want to privatize and act tough? Are there metrics for performance and productivity against which custodians and AFB can be measured? If yes, are they being used? If not, why not?
NHCAN and citizens across the city who petitioned for thoughtful spending cuts during this year’s budget process, and who were largely ignored and dismissed with token cuts and arrogance, want an efficient and effective and sustainable city government. There may be opportunities to privatize, but we have absolutely no confidence in DeStefano’s ability to do so in a fair, righteous, uncorrupted way; and certainly zero confidence in his projections for savings in the face of so many failed projections already. Therefore, privitizing the custodians at this point in time is ill-advised and threatening to do so is little more than a bully tactic that should be rejected. Cut the managers. Save money. Live better.
How can people defend the union behavior here? Please look in the mirror when you say this - - can you do it with a straight face?
> They were just cleaning up at the end of the shift?
> Its only a couple slackers?
> Privatization doesn’t improve service?
> Its managements fault - they should be more closely supervised.
Come On - Get Serious
> In addition to being caught watching the game or just plain gone, the work at the schools hadn’t been completed. How do you explain that?
> 16 out of 17 of the unionized workers weren’t working. That’s not a few bad apples.
> In EVERY case where non-union custodial people are used, the jobs get done and the costs are lower.
> So, if a cashier at a bank gabs a few twenties from the till, do we let them off saying there should have been a supervisor standing next to them?
At some point, the taxpayers should have the expectation that in exchange for our sky-high taxes, the workers that we pay show up and do their jobs most of the time.
We need to push on all the unions in this year’s negotiations - they must stop stealing from the people.
The inspection proves nothing. One hour before one’s shift ends, is spent putting equipment away and securing the building. Will Clark cannot compare the type of work custodians do with his own desk job. Different occupations demand different work strategies. Mr. Clark could claim that he stays at his desk till the last minute, but what happens before a building is closed for the night is other people’s worry. His unscientific method of conducting an investigation produce misleading conclusions. His investigation was based on 4 out of more then 40 schools, 17 out of more than 200 custodians, and in 3 out of 365 days of the year. The conclusion to this, so called, investigation is that 80 percent of custodians are inefficient.
As far as inefficiency and apathetic attitude, those can be found at any level in the city work force. Why are the Mayor and Mr. Clark targeting custodians only. If custodians are going to be pointed out for watching TV what about the rest of the school staff who utilize computers for personal use as oppose to their intended “educational” purpose. 80 percent of the time, school computers are accessed for personal use and there are records to support this assertion.
Why is the Mayor trying so hard to give the city’s resources away instead of spending the same energy in keeping our resource in the city. Custodial workers keep the money in the city. Right now Custodians shop in New Haven, rent or pay mortgage in New Haven. Custodian’s that don’t live in New Haven, at least, spend their money in CT. The money stays in New Haven and nearby towns. By hiring a private the city’s money is gone with them. They will be taking this money to their own state and spending it there. There isn’t much a 12.50 an hour worker, can buy in this high tax city of New Haven. With loss of benefits from 200 workers, area hospitals will also loose out.If Destefano really cares much about resources and revenues from the city, he shouldn’t be giving away money which could be going back into the His city. Mr. Mayor do the math.
When people make arguments about public sector employees being handsomely compensated relative to their private sector counterparts, this is precisely what they’re talking about. It appears as though Local 287 has abused the public’s trust and the city’s pocketbook.
“Accountability is Gone,”
You’re certainly right that accountability is gone when the city produces pretty compelling evidence that Local 287’s workers have been failing to perform the job that the city’s taxpayers pay them to do and you take to the comment pages to trash the city.
You’re also right that sometimes, people don’t come in and do their job. But a 25% absenteeism rate is unacceptable, especially when it costs the city $2.2 million during a time of economic crisis.
Your criticism of management gets you nowhere. Any way you cut it, a 25% absenteeism rate is disgraceful and inexcusable. Maybe the management firm is actually doing a great job, and without it, absenteeism would be closer to 50 or 60%. Given that you’re basically saying that it’s okay to skip work unless management calls you out on it, that actually seems plausible.
The Real Deal,
Um, no, in most places of business where anyone with a third-grade education can do the work, employees who constantly need to be watched aren’t employees very long. A childhood friend of mine started working at factory that made corrugated cardboard, slacked off, and was fired a week after he started.
But I do agree that the city could fix this problem very easily—it could fire the workers that don’t do the jobs that they are paid to do. There are certainly plenty of people in New Haven who are willing to work and would love a job that promises some steady stream of income and benefits. Unfortunately, Local 287 seems determined to shelter incompetent and lazy employees.
Invoking the specter of “illegals in schools” is deplorable. I don’t think that a private company would hire somebody without some verifiable personal history for fairly obvious liability reasons, and I think you know that. I also think that you can’t seriously believe that everyone who comes to New Haven from another country is infected with some awful communicable disease, and if you do believe that, you’re horribly mistaken. And I think you know that even if some undocumented immigrants do have the flu, those probably won’t be the ones who go and work largely because they’d be too sick to work (again, not that they’d be hired to work in a school).
Did you ever stop to consider that some custodian failing to properly clean a classroom could create a health hazard by allowing infectious bacteria to grow? No, you didn’t, because you were too busy trying to deflect attention from 287’s tradition of failure.
You just tried to defend your union members’ laziness by attacking a group of human beings that want nothing more than to get an honest job that allows them to earn money to feed their families. Shame on you. You aren’t entitled to my taxpayer dollars, and if you and your union refuse to do the job that you are paid to do, then I fully support the city’s decision to find somebody who will.
By the way, I think the only people looking to unfairly line their pockets here are the 25% of union members who can’t be bothered to actually show up to do the job that they’re paid to do. When you have some concrete evidence that somebody is actually taking kickbacks, I’m sure that the NHI will be more than happy to publish it. Unfortunately for you, this just looks like City Hall is trying to make sure that the people we pay to work are actually working.
There is no kickback here, just $2.2 million in savings for New Haven taxpayers and the end of a system that allows custodians to get paid to watch basketball.
I’m sure it does piss you off. People who get caught slacking off sometimes get pissed off at the person who caught them. Perhaps you should be pissed off at the union members who failed to do their job.
I take it that your assumption is that the workers were taking their break at the time of the Celtics game. But if they were taking their break a half hour before the shift ended, you’d think that there would be some relatively small amount of work left to do—specifically, an amount that could conceivably be done in the amount of time between the end of the break and the end of the shift. Given the amount of work that was left—lights on, rooms not clean, etc., this sounds more like “shirking responsibility” than “taking an oddly timed break.”
You’re right, people don’t work every hour of every day. But maybe you should take a look at the Mayor’s schedule some time—he comes pretty close. Go to a Board of Aldermen meeting some time; you’ll see Liz Benton staying until the very end, most likely along with other mayoral staffers. Believe it or not, people in City Hall tend to work pretty hard, and in many cases (see the Corporation Counsel’s office for the best example) do so for less money than they would make in the private sector.
If you really did bring in your own vacuum, that’s laudable. And if you’re a worker who works hard day in and day out, then I can surely see why you’re frustrated. But that frustration should be directed at the 25% of your colleagues who think it’s okay to skip out on work, not at the people who see that and are forced to find a way to fix it.
Furthermore, you don’t need a new wet mop to clean out trash or turn off lights. And, if you’re not being given the proper equipment to do your job, the solution isn’t to just say, “screw it, I’m getting a paycheck anyway,” it’s to DEMAND THE PROPER TOOLS, ideally BEFORE people catch on that people aren’t doing their jobs.
Before I’m accused of being an anti-union hack, I should point out that I come from a union family. My relatives and I would be nowhere near where we are today were it not for my grandfather’s meat packers union making sure that he and his family had adequate health insurance (and giving my father a scholarship to attend college), or for my other grandfather’s membership in the ILWU giving my mother and her siblings some sense of security despite the uncertain nature of my grandfather’s job, or for my grandmother’s membership in the Bakers/Confectioners/Tobacco union ensuring that she brought home a fair wage.
I also know that there are a lot of unions today that are working their tails off to fight for fair wages and humane working conditions. Across the country, you’ll find unions working to ensure that agricultural workers aren’t exposed to pesticides and are provided with equipment that isn’t inherently conducive to serious and debilitating injuries. You’ll find unions working to ensure that factory workers are provided with equipment that won’t chop off their fingers or explode in their faces. And you’ll find unions working to make sure that restaurant bus boys and waitresses are compensated fairly for their work.
And it’s precisely because I want these unions to succeed that I think that unions like 287 need to be held accountable for their failures. When a public employees’ union betrays the public trust to the tune of $2.2 million per year, that union provides a talking point for every anti-union blowhard that wants to see organizing rights eliminated. That union makes it easier for union-busting firms to convince the public that organizing rights are bad, and ultimately makes it more difficult for those workers who most desperately need to unionize to do so.
Local 287 has betrayed the trust of New Haven’s taxpayers, but more importantly, it has betrayed the trust of those of us who believe in the promise that unions hold for American workers. If I were a member of Local 287, I would seek to find ways to hold failing workers accountable and ultimately to make sure that people are doing an honest day’s work in exchange for an honest day’s pay.
The 287 hacks who blame everybody but their own failing coworkers are helping nobody.
DeStefano’s management style and ability are playing out in this latest confrontation. As the defacto CEO of the city, it is interesting to compare his philosophy to those in the private sector who have led much larger, more complicated organizations.
This is an excerpt from an interview by Smart Business in June 2005 with GE legend Jack Welch.
“My philosophy is that candor does wonderful things for people…Everyone knows where they stand…Differentiation is letting the best know where they are. And letting the weakest understand what their shortcomings are and what they have to do about it, not surprising them someday by laying them off.
Voice and dignity are, in fact, part of demanding or requesting or pulling the best ideas from everybody. Everybody wants to have a voice. We went through a workout process at GE that spent years and tens of thousands of town meetings asking for ideas from any level. And we tried to get to the point where ideas came not based on the stripes on your shoulder but from the quality of your idea.
The same thing is true about dignity: Respecting people by telling them where they stand. Never let them be in the dark. Always explain what they can do to do better, and if they can’t do it, send them on their way.
But don’t come in some day and say, ‘We’re having a recession and we’ve got to lay off two people and Mary and Joe, you have to go.’ And Mary and Joe say, ‘Why us?’ And you answer, ‘Because you weren’t doing that well.’ ‘But we’ve been here 15 years and nobody’s ever said anything.’ That happens all the time.
I definitely think everybody has to know where they stand. One guy in Louisville said to me, ‘You’ve had my arms and legs for 25 years; you could have had my brain for nothing.’ That’s true. The people closest to the work know the work. You should ask them.
So all those things are part of a fundamental philosophy. When they know where they stand and they are willing to speak out openly because candor is a value that’s rewarded and you give them respect, you will get the most out of people.”
posted by: AgOr on June 25, 2010 7:41am
privatization that’s what they want. The kids deserve better than that. The custodians do their job and go beyond it. We are there for the kids and the staff. Will Clark thinks it is easier to get rid of the custodians so he can sit back and do almost nothing for his overpaid salary.Let AFB who is getting paid to supervise, supervise. The school buildings are kept cleaned and the ones that aren’t should be addressed. That what supervision is about.
OK, what am I missing here? You have Lemar, Goldson, Jones, Smart and Elicker all standing up defending a group of employees that are watching basketball while they are on the clock? They join in with a group of employees that on any given day 1 in 4 are absent?
Didn’t these guys just pass a budget which includes the savings in outsourcing the work and now they are flip-flopping?
I am so confused here.
Oh, and for the people out there that say management does not always do their jobs because they should just fire the employees when they goof off - its called due process and progressive discipline. I know this all too well.
Try and discipline an employee for something and the union will fight it all the way to Wethersfield (that’s where the state labor board has their hearings). Every time you need to go up north to put on your case against people watching basketball in stead of working that costs money for attorneys and lost work time. And after all that you can still lose the case because of “labor friendly” third arbitrator.
Its not that easy to discipline people under a union contract - and if the union leadership knows its wrong to do these things they do NOT have to fight the discipline, but they always will.
Back to the aldermen - this is a clear case of Lemar and Elicker trying to have it both ways. They are for outsourcing over hear when the teabaggers are in their face, and than over there they stand up with these union guys to say outsourcing is bad. This is bad politics and bad policy all around.
Doesn’t anyone else see this?
Oh, and BTW - Doyens:
You are just as bad. Whenever it suits your narrow, negative political agenda you flip-flop on issues the same as the alders do. You day you are against unions and view them as the institutions that foster high labor costs and the next day you defend them.
Be careful Doyens your hypocrisy is showing.
Unions are never a good idea. They artificially inflate wages and intentionally block out free-market competition. They’re legalized mafiaosos. Instead of breaking your legs, they break your bank, all the while delivering sub standard performance in return.
Get rid of the custodian union (and teachers union too while we’re at it).
Most of the comments on this story are surreal! They are so out of touch with private sector practices that I can only assume that the writes are union member or people that can see no good in anything the administration does.
Folks let me make is simple for you. In the real world you MUST do your job or you are fired. You as custodians MUST keep our brand new schools clean! The floors must be swept, toilets cleaned and trash taken out along with whatever else your boss tells you to do (ok whatever your union contact tells you to do). If the job is not getting done you should be FIRED! No ifs ands or buts. There is no defense for not working and getting paid for it. I, as a taxpayer, pay your wage and you are stealing from me and I insist that the Mayor and Dr. Mayo & Will Clark do something about it because that is THEIR JOB!
To all those lackey aldermen that I see in the picture at the top of the page, how can you after spending tens if not hundreds of hours in public hearing and then at the big budget vote, pontificate and scream about saving us money stand beside the people who are – through sheer laziness – costing us $2.2 million! How dare you! Take a real stand against wasteful spending and hold these custodians accountable.
“They’ve been showing up regularly at school board meetings to deliver that message:” - how about if they showed up regularly and did their jobs, then we’d never be talking about this.
Privatization equals savings for the city
The investigation done at the schools prove nothing. Do the same investigation across the board on every city department. You will find the same or more shocking results. When you want to make a case on inefficiency of workers you need to do more than come in a hour before work ends and you should be more thorough in your study. That is why the small sample study rendered a poor statistical conclusion. THere are high level administrators who came back from retirement who are getting paid five to six figure incomes as consultants and don’t do “diddly”. DeStefano is not bothered by their inefficiency or their waist of city taxes.
I consider myself a pretty fair person. There is wrong on both parties. There are plenty of good custodians who do work very hard and have to put up with a lot of crap from the students, teachers, etc. But there are also a lot of lazy custodians who get away with everything. They have ruined the system and put everyone’s job in danger. For the inspections, they are talking out both sides of their mouths. They are complaining they shouldn’t have had a surprise visit!! Well, if you were doing your job (like your union asked them to do) instead of watching TV, then you wouldn’t have anything to complain about. If the managers have to be in the schools every day and every night to make sure your work is done, then you don’t deserve the job, you are adults not children. Now for the management, if their supervisors were writing the lazy ones up more often then they could have been weeded out. Why can’t the city just fire all the ones that have caused problems over the years, and let the good ones stay? Clean house! Why does it have to be All or Nothing??? Why ruin it for the good ones? Why weren’t the ones that were written up a hundred times not fired, (because they are connected) So when suggestions are made to fire someone, they are told to leave them alone. So the BOE heads (Dr. Mayo, Will Clark)talk out of both sides also. This is something that has been brewing for years. The custodians worked hard to get Aramark out, but at least Aramark wasn’t going for privatizaion. They were clamping down on the lazy ones, and the custodians didn’t like it, now they have a company pushing for privatization and they are fighting that. So all it comes down to is “DO THE DAMN JOB YOU WERE HIRED TO DO, GET PAID TO DO, SHOW UP FOR WORK, AND THIS WOULDN’T BE HAPPENING’!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now the rest of the unions are in jeopardy also!!!!
This is what it’s like with government and one reason why we must keep it small.
I am not anti-union. I’m anti-union contracts that are so rich taxpayers can’t afford them. There’s a difference and you misrepresent my views. Since you know labor relations so well, you should also know that as candidate for governor, Mayor DeStefano signed off on labor contracts we can neither afford nor has he budgeted. This includes extraordinary benefit packages and give-me perks like Assist Chief Redding’s retirement deal. I’m against contracts that exceed anything in the private sector.
That said, I don’t support lazy and irresponsible behavior on the job from union or non-union. But as you know, there is a process to that discipline. If you don’t follow the process, you lose. You don’t issue a corrective order, a pathway to good standing; you don’t actively and consistently discipline or look the other way because you have a political agenda or are just plain lazy yourself, you lose at the labor board. Since you claim to have gone to the labor board, then you should know well how poorly the city documents these cases, how it hires people I’m told, it has been specifically told not to hire; and how in some cases, people have been allowed to continue to perform poorly because of who they know; and how some employees annually file for workers’ comp like clockwork. Effective management of the workforce and contractors is tedious and gruelling and given the number of comp cases, wrongful termination-unfair labor lawsuits which we tend to lose, it sure seems that we have much to improve.
And finally, it comes down to trust. I seriously doubt the mayor’s $2.2 million number used in his press release on the custodians. After all, this is a guy who can’t even account for the real taxpayer expense of the donated city Christmas tree and manufactures an $8 million IBB (innovative budget)line item with no detail, in order to pretend to balance next year’s budget.
Jack Welch has an interesting perspective on employees. I wonder what would happen with the custodians, if candor and trust were used vs. bullying, threats and a predetermined outcome hatched in the offices of a couple of city executives who have difficulty managing a 40 year old Head Start program, have cost taxpayers millions of dollars through aggressive and in the end, failed projections or questionable contracting, and can’t even effectively manage the clean-up crews.
I spent an entire night sitting in a room with 200 other citizens the night the budget passed and listened to aldermen either defend or attack the budget. I was not happy with what was passed, but it was better than the first option of much higher taxes.
I am outraged that alders that stood up that night and said that they believe outsourcing was the way to reduce costs even if it meant that the bathrooms my children use at the schools were a little dirtier. I thought to myself I don’t want higher taxes, but I don’t want my kids to use filthy bathrooms either.
Then I learn that the very same alderman which justified dirty bathrooms for my kids to have to use, joins with school janitors against the very cuts which he supported that evening. Now what am I to think? I feel so stupid for buying into his explanation considering he turns around and shows up with employees that waste our tax dollars.
@ Exiled Shill:
You wrote—“OK, what am I missing here? You have Lemar, Goldson, Jones, Smart and Elicker all standing up defending a group of employees that are watching basketball while they are on the clock? They join in with a group of employees that on any given day 1 in 4 are absent?
Didn’t these guys just pass a budget which includes the savings in outsourcing the work and now they are flip-flopping?”
My response—First, let’s be clear, I was not and will not defend employees that should be working but instead are watching basketball, but I have not heard the full story, just the Will Clark version. I’m sure their is more to the story.
Second, if absenteeism is such a big problem, just fire those that are abusing the system, don’t punish the guys who are going to work everyday and doing their jobs. Seems to be a management problem.
Third, yes, the BOA did pass a budget that includes outsourcing, I (and Mike Smart) DID NOT vote for that budget, mainly because it was $10 million more than last years budget, which meant a tax increase, but also because it did include this outsourcing piece. If you read the transcript of the meeting, you would see that I clearly voiced my opposition to this.
Fourth, they did not include my comments in the article, but if you were there you would have heard me start off by saying that our city government and expenses need to be reduced, and that some employees need to be let go, but the guys who clean our schools should not be the scapegoats, perhaps we should start by really reform of our tax warrant delivery system.
Excellent first step by the city.
We need to whittle away at all unions in City Hall and at the BOE. We can not afford the apathy or expense that comes with union labor any more.
As citizens we need to let our elected officials know that they have our support to not support the unions. Unions are very good at selfishly lobbying elected officials and very bad at encouraging productive work.
Doyens - Here we go again. I do not represent to be an expert on union contracts or labor unions, but I do understand that a lot of public employee contracts are bloated because of political pressure to do so. On that point I agree with you (ouch!). But do not claim that as a manager it soooo easy to get things done with a union contract in place while recognizing that the processes are in place for good reasons.
For years you have been on these blogs damning unions and labeling them as the downfall to Western Civilization, the end of the free market system, precursors to Armageddon, and the reason why you pay more taxes in new haven than you do in Avon. You blame them for the price of tea in China, the Hindenburg tragedy and for weight gain during the holidays. In short, on these blogs you have demanded change and union contract reform.
Now you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your adopted union brothers aiding them in their argument that management is responsible for lazy tv watching workers, because they didnt stop them from watching tv until they caught them. Its all the managers fault he should have known that they would not be doing their work. And if they do stop them from watching tv, well the BOE deserves to have a grievance filed against them.
I dont buy it. You cannot have it both ways. But why would you really want to have it both ways?
From what I have seen and read you and your little organization have gone from a small band of residents concerned about taxes and government waste to an organization focused on personalities and electoral agendas. Its not about saving money anymore is it? Be honest.
Shame on the people who are not doing their jobs. Shame on the management for not setting up a system to weed out the poorly-performing workers. However, they shouldn’t have to babysit workers to get things done. Lastly, shame on the Union. I blame them for creating an environment of mediocrity and for protecting bad workers.
It has been my experience from working both as a non-union professional and a union worker, that the Union protects poorly-performing workers making it easier for management to ignore bad behavior than to go through the endless reviews and second, third and fourth chances before someone can be fired. It also doesn’t provide any incentive for doing an outstanding or efficient job. In the non-union world, you do a poor job, you lose your job and it could be without any notice. If you do a great job you have a chance to get promoted and get a raise.
I’m sure there are some really good employees who value their job and those, that as far as I can tell, can’t be bothered. The evidence to the latter is visible in some of the schools. I’ve seen teachers who clean their own rooms and know kids who won’t use the bathrooms because they are so dirty.
The people who aren’t doing their job don’t deserve to have a job. If the Union and current management can’t get their people working and doing their job well, then someone else needs to step in.
Let me start by saying the absenteeism figure is just fuzzy manipulated math. Personal days and vacation time is counted into that figure. You have 190 people with say an average of three weeks vacation plus 3 personal days. That is a total of 684 weeks of earned time off the city is counting towards being absent! Show me one person who gives up their vacation time they earned.. Also there are 50 or so custodians that are given 7 sick days that can not be accumulated or sold back ( A Will Clark contract addition). Can all you people bashing the custians ask yourself this “what would you do with the & days?” So everthing is not what it appears to be in Destefanoland. There are many a hardworking, dedicated custodian that shows up and does the work. And write up the bad ones and get them out the door. The union has to beg for someone to get fired, not the other way around.
Can someone tell me why I should lose my Job? For the last 10 years all I did was show up everyday and do my job. Not one complaint or discipline charge against me. I love want I do, you people can trivialize it and say i’m just pushing a broom or cleaning toilets, and think I’m uneducated. But I show up and put pride into my work and at the end of the night my buildings clean. And I got a folder full of letters of praise and thanks from teachers, staff, and administrators for the job my crew and I do. Lets be fair take out the bums and lets move forward and bring back the morale. How much hard work does the city expect to get out of people when they are telling you that you are no longer wanted. Thats a recipe for disaster
For all who say get rid of union’s I thank god that this is why we have union’s.This is what will happen’s with out union protection.
The role of a labor union is to ensure that the balance is not tipped in favor of the employer when employees do not receive wages and benefits commensurate with their contribution.
Labor Unions are the leading force for democratization and progress.
The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor.
OK Kool aid - if you don’t like fuzzy math ... here are some hard numbers - 5 days a week X 52 weeks is 260 possible working days. Subtract 10 vacation days, 3 weeks vacation and 3 personal days and you get 232 days where management plans for the custodians to show up for work. As you mention, many of them have an extra 7 days that were collectively bargained (I’ll leave out my bias for how weak the city has been historically in its nenegotiations) so missing (being sick…etc) on 7 of the 232 days is reasonable.
The problem is that recent data shows that the union custodians call out an average of…not 7…not 9…but 58 times per year. And the appeal process is such that the uion can protect these people while they are esessentially stealing from the city.
This has to be stopped and if the union won’t cooperate, then privatization is the answer
I will say this: All of our problems associated with our labor contracts across the city can be summed: The mayor has given up more than we can possibly ever afford and it is exceedingly difficult to walk it back given his management style, broken promises, and fuzzy math; the threats, intimidation etc. There is not a relationship basis to forge a successful win/win contract even if the union(s)were in agreement. However, I know for a fact, there is common ground with the custodians if the mayor will listen more then he talks.
As for our “little organization” as you impugned, NHCAN remains committed to flat taxes and a much smaller spending plan, using the surplus to begin paying down hundreds of millions in debt so that we don’t have to borrow money to stripe our streets or fix our sidewalks or pave our roads. It now has over 1,200 people who are aligned with us and it continues to grow. We are not focused on personalities or electoral agendas except as it relates to the effective and efficient running of our city in a clearly sustainable, professional manner. It’s that simple.
You have alot of good points, but with all do honesty, may god strike me dead if I am lying. I ask for the tools, I demand the tools and all I get is a response of do what you can do with what you have. I love my job, my father always told me, son at the end of the day make sure you can look back and sign your name to the job you just did, and let me tell you, I DO. I take pride in any job I do, I go to work and bust my ass every day. Just ask my principal what type of job I do.I take on more responsibility then most, and he always comes to me, because he knows that he can trust me to get the job done. I will give anyone who wants to come to my building proof of broken equipment, lack of supplies, and its not the supply houses fault, his budget keeps getting cut more and more each year, even though we are adding more and more schools.we contacted the company to fix our auto scrubber, and they told us they dont have the contract anymore, so we tried to find out who fixes them now, guess what, NO ONE.
As I stated before, yes there are quite a few people who dont deserve this job,and they should be weeded out, but dont take it out on the guys and girls who do work hard. I come to work everyday, I am 1 of the people who get 7 days of sick time, use it or loose it, and I have used 1 day this year so far. I dont call out if I am sick, I have 3 children 12 and under, when they get sick, that’s when I call out, and that’s only if its bad.. There are alot of things we could go on and on about, but please everyone dont judge until you have both side of the story, its not right what they are trying to do to us, they should be trying to keep people employed, and work things out instead of trying to put 180 families out in the streets. That’s what would happen to me if I loose this job, I am a disabled vet, I am 32 and I need this job.
And on another note, I put out alot of money from my own pocket to get the job done right.. your right I dont need to use a wet mop to take out garbage, or turn off lights, but I need one to wash floors in bathrooms, and classrooms.I take every week on friday, the wet mops, dust mops and rags to a cleaners, another expense out of my pocket, so I can have clean tools for the job.
To Mr. Facts and figures,
Heres an fact for you. I have been on the job for eight years now and do you want to guess how many times I’ve called out sick??? Let me tell you “ZERO” can you say the same? Now tell me why I should lose my job!
The point is its not fair to count vacation and personal days into figuring out the average of people absent, it artificially inflates the percentage.
OK Roland & Justin,
Where are your comments here? We all know you are reading this. Defend your positions. How do you justify standing with the union on this? 1 month ago, both of you proposed a $1.5M reduction in the proposed BOE budget to be applied to the mythical IBB. Now you say don’t cut there?? HUH??
Justin -you even said the bathrooms may not be as clean!? I have three kids in the school system and agreed with you that cuts like these need to be made.
How do you justify this turn around? I (and a lot of other readers) really would like to know. I know that you both have higher political aspirations, well why should anyone support someone that shows such (apparently) clear flip-flopping? How can you possibly be standing in the front row? Please guys, tell me it isn’t what it looks like and you were just observing the show, not siding with the union, please.
Most of these custodians do very little work. They show up on the afternoon shift and work for a few hours and then leave, they come back to punch out, or they get another employee to punch them out. The supervisors do the same, so there is no accountability. So many people are out of work and would kill to have a custodians job. T… I think the kids deserve better, bring in a private contractor and hold them accountable.
posted by: Tom Burns on June 26, 2010 2:51am
Doyens—I wanted to speak to many posters but you have astonished me—-can we do better to save money and lessen the burden on taxpayers—of course—-But for you to mention the name of the biggest ...e in the universe as an example of good business and a way to run the world (Jack Welch) astonishes me—you can put him in the same category as Idi Amin, Baby Doc Duvalier, Hitler, Pol Pot ...and others who enriched themselves at the expense of others—-this guy is aloser who has benefitted off the backs of workers he has fired—-he has no accomplishments of records—he only has titles and rich friends who he wants to appease—-Doyens—I thought you were better than this—-try the Google experience on for size where competence and ability mean something——
This article is about our custodians—I have been here for the last 15 years and have been amazed at the work of the custodians I have met—-so Rob Montourri—make a deal to get rid of the chafe and get rid of AFP also and let our custodians monitor themselves—-then you can truly judge them in a fair manner—-at the end of the day I look for Mr Clark and Mr Destefano to come through for labor and our fine group of custodians and beat back the march of the moneymaking privateers——-the sooner the better—-All the best—Tom
POSSIBLE CREATIVE RESOLUTIONS TO UNACCEPTABLE STATUS QUO QUAGMIRE:
Establish a leaner, more nimble & higher paid staff of go-getters with the tacit understanding of a new & improve cadre of quasi/semi-military management overseers empowered w/the ability to issue punitive (though NOT career-threatening)scolds via “fair” resolutions @ a level playing field w/disinterested (i.e. nuetral) 3rd party oversight.
Empower existing custodians to be their own contracters & simply facilitate bidding per job while maintaining preexisting/dignifed benefits(ex: this floor or that section etc…) vs. ‘per hour’ scenarios (individual workers could theoretically/actually earn more in this case).
Streamlined, autonomous opportunites to swap off w/each other on occasion should a day off be needed should lesson the need for excessive Medical Leave dipping (along w/carry-over @year-to-year opportunites for unused days + reward incentives for stellar attendance).
An efficient & potential win-win for all parties involved!
Yes, fairly disposed spot checks could still be employed within this particular scenario.
Best of both worlds…...Established, professionally run & paid union-oriented custodians “augmented” by highly-screened, highly motivated & high energy high school students who not only have a vested stake in the cleanliness of the school buildings, but would be afforded a bit of pocket money for themselves.
Note: This model has been successfully utilized within the parochial school systems of other major urban areas.
ALL of these potential scenarios adeptly both preserve the dignity & security of the earnest/hard-working family men & women of the NHSD Custodial Corps while concurrently taking care of the primary mission at hand (i.e. Clean + Healthy School Environments) all while doing justice to the arguably occasionally beleaguered taxpayers of the great Elm City of New Haven!
Might these humble proposals be construed as being worthy of the blessings of such great New Haven labor conciliators of the past as Fr. Michael J. McGivney & Mayor John W. Murphy?
After reading this article I can only say that I have personally been told of certain custodian (not custodians) that goes to work whenever he chooses and leaves at whatever time and then still get overtime. What a shame. It is because of people like him that the one that showed up to work and was where he/she was supposed to be might end up loosing their job.
I AM A CUSTODIAN AT CLINTON AVE SCHOOL. WE GET ALMOST NO COMPLAINTS FROM THE TEACHERS OR STAFF. IF WE DO THEY ARE HANDLED ASAP. OUR SCHOOL IS ALWAYS CLEAN. OUR CUSTODIANS ARE ALWAYS IN THE BUILDING WORKING HARD. WHY WOULD AFB THE PRIVATE DO NOTHING COMPANY THAT SUCKS UP 1.5 MILLON A YEAR TO NOT SUPERVISE HAVE AN INSPECTION TO SEE IF PEOPLE ARE WORKING AT 10:45 AT NIGHT? WE ARE DONE CLEANING BY THEN AND PACKING UP AND SETTLING DOWN FROM CLEANING TOILETS AND CLASSROOMS ALL DAY! GIVE ME A BREAK THIS WAS A STUNT THEY KNEW NO ONES CLEANING AT 10:45 15 MINUTES BEFORE WE GO HOME. I ASK THE MAYOR TO COME TO CLINTON AVE NOT AFB THEY ARE A JOKE, COME AT ANY TIME BEFORE 15 MINUTES BEFORE THE SHIFT ENDS. WE NEED THESE JOBS. DONT OUT SOURCE THEM TO ILLEGAL IMIGRANTS WITH NO BACK GROUND CHECKS! PARENTS IS THAT WHO YOU WANT IN YOUR KIDS SCHOOL? WE HAVE SOME BAD APPLES LIKE ANY COMPANY. MANAGMENT NEEDS TO DO THIER JOBS AND GET RID OF THE BAD APPLES SO ALL US GOOD WORKERS DONT SUFFER. COME ON MAYOR WE SUPPORTED YOU TIME AND TIME AGAIN WHERE IS YOU SUPPORT FOR US NOW? CALL THE MAYORS OFFICE TELL HIM YOU DONT SUPPORT PRIVATIZATION CALL 203-946-8200
This debate gets confrontational. I think we should step back and realize that almost everyone wants the same goals - great schools, clean floors. It is how best to do that which should be the issue at hand for policy makers.
I don’t think there’s any evidence showing that reforming unions or privatizing labor will create cleaner schools in the long term (in fact, evidence may be to the contrary, given that areas without strong labor unions, like Mississippi, generally have worse school systems).
Promoting social equity is the only thing that will improve schools (and other systems). This reform must be done in a systematic way. For example, we should be giving major incentives for employees to live in the same city as the taxpayers who support them, funded by the employees who choose not to live here (these incentives can be created indirectly, e.g., by raising parking fees or reducing salaries). Taxing New Haven’s population to support union members (e.g., police) who almost entirely live in the suburbs is a recipe for social collapse. In a city like New Haven, we also should not be paying hundreds of administrative staff salaries that are five times higher than the average family income. I’m sure New Haven can find a decent Superintendent without paying him/her hundreds of thousands of dollars per year plus a free car.
Research shows that unless you consider these types of broader questions of social equity and address the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, every outcome (including the cleanliness of our schools) will continue to get worse and worse every year.
School “Reform” that just focuses in on the details of things like union management may create cleaner schools in the short term, but if educated parents keep moving out of the district, you eventually won’t have the political and social resources to support that anymore. “Reform” that doesn’t address social equity at the deepest levels is not reform, it is the opposite.
Comparing Jack Welch to dictators who have killed millions, tortured, maimed and starved their own people is a careless and silly comparison. I am well acquainted with the Welch’s less admirable traits and I don’t by a far stretch, endorse all his past actions and actions. But he grew a huge company that employed thousands and kept them employed in great paying jobs with benefits even as he provided tremendous returns for his shareholders.
When he came to New Haven a couple of years ago, I went to hear him talk. He was interviewed by Diane Smith. One of the things I remember him saying is that he knew a plant wasn’t running well, if he had labor problems and labor unrest in that plant. When one looks at his business philosophy, and culls through the good and the bad, I find things I admire. I choose those. But like all people, they are more than one dimensional and you take the good with the bad. Remember the good, learn from the good. Reject the bad.
I wish the independent would print the whole story instead of half. Yes AFB went to the school and caught some custodians watching tv but did you know that AFB sat down with the custodians and also watched the game.Also you said that 80percent of custodians were not working, but you failed to tell the public that you only went to three schools at quater to eleven when their shift ends at eleven. All the city is doing is trying to put the public and every one else against the custodians.Did you know that the mayor hired a lawyer that specializes in getting rid of unions and also public relation people.But theres no money he says after he just handed every union in the city a raise, nice guy huh when people in the city are losing their homes because they cant affored the taxes and now he puts in the paper some made up number that he says hes going to save by privatizing the custodians but mr clark still has not showed where or how this new company is going to do it cheaper.
It all come down to point of view - if you think that money that flows through the board of education should be used to provide the best schooling possible to our children, then you will view this story on one side. If you, on the other hand, believe that the money should be used to pay custodians to watch basketball (or stay home), or to pay 6 Vice Principals at Wilbur Cross salaries of $100K+, then you will take the other side in these type of situations.
Also, try this out tomorrow; pick a random person on the street and ask them which is more closely associated with corruption A) Privatization or B) Unionization.
Any guesses at the results?
People, people. Let us first define private company. The meaning is misleading. It is not, as in this case, a janitorial company which specializes in all aspects of cleaning pertaining to the school environment, who can manage the workforce in performing quality work and can do this within the budget agreed upon. May GOD HELP YOU IF YOU’RE BUYING THIS DEFINITION. Private companies don’t necessarily specialize in what they sell or the kind of job they perform. They are merely the lowest bidder a client is willing to hire. (Lowest bidder is a no brainer). They are businesses whose aim is making a hefty profit. NOTHING WRONG WITH MAKING A PROFIT, but when you’re the one paying you don’t want to be “shafted” by a hacker. Private company means a company who doesn’t know much about cleaning, however, they are skillful micromanagers who aim at making the maximum profit accruing for themselves bonuses and perks. The quality of the work depends on the nonprofessional worker who has brought their skill with them form previous jobs and the efficiency and staying within the budget consists on how well they can intimidate the worker to get out of him as much as this employer can.
CALL THE MAYORS OFFICE TELL HIM YOU DONT SUPPORT PRIVATIZATION CALL 203-946-8200
where do folks get off stating that all private companies
1) know nothing about what they sell?
2) have zero quality control
3) are always the lowest bidder (there are always other stipulations in city RFQs
“Private Company means a company that doesn’t know much about cleaning” Huh? What dictionary is being used here?
Again, if you are making $$ off the current union deals, I understand that you would defend it. But please do not insult our intelligence buy inferring that any system that doesn’t give a cut to union bosses must be corrupt. Most people are too smart to believe this. Unions served a purpose 120 years ago. Their time a passed.
I - for one - will be writing to City Hall this week saying that as a taxpayer, I expect the city to get the best job done for the dollar. I do not expect the city to continue to allow the unions to rob from us. This must come to an end.
See http://www.nhcan.org/ for more info about where your money is going and how to contact City Hall and your alder-person.
I respect the sentiment for the union custodians,i’m a union person myself. But enough is enough, the stuff these guys get away with, if they worked at McDonald’s they would be fired. I commend the custodian that wrote in about how clean his school is, but that school is an exception. It’s to the point in some schools the teachers are cleaning their own class rooms and they are scared to say anything to the custodians. I also think the principals and their staff should bear some of the blame too, for not enforcing certain rules. The custodians that are writing in and saying they are doing the right thing, are not doing the right thing if you know of other custodians that are working 2 hours a night and don’t say anything.
The phase “New Economy” like (Center for a New Economy) is a code word that means the (Hyper-Capitalist, Politician, and Union Leader) are reorganizing the Social and Economic structure of society and it dosen’t include American/Black Americans. The occupational structure of the (Twenty First Century) are the use of (Illegal Immigrants) to lower and suppress the wages of Americans/Black Americans. This “New Economy”/Hyper Capitalist strategy started in the 60’s and continues to impede the growth of Americans/Black Americans. This “New Economy” has many working class becoming demoralized and cynical about Politicians and Union Leaders, it is important to distinguish between their intention and rhetoric from their effect and negative outcome. When you investigate the true objective of a “New Economy” they (Hyper-Capitalist, Politician, and Union Leaders)supports a free and open market between Americans/Black American causing the downward mobility of Americans/Black Americans. The reality is a “New Economy” only benefits the (Hyper- Capitalist, Politician, and Union Leaders) Pause for a moment and perform a visual analysis, who do you observe working where Americans/Black Americans once worked?
Hence a “New Economy”
Spike, “It’s to the point in some schools the teachers are cleaning their own class rooms and they are scared to say anything to the custodians.”
That’s putting it mildly. I had to beg to have my floor cleaned. I had to complain regularly and probably referred to as a “b…” just because i wanted it done at least twice a week. Finally, it is being done. The only floors cleaned are the hallways, period. The classrooms are disgusting.
Paper towels and toilet paper frequently not available to teachers. I’m not sure who’s fault this is. Is it lack of supplies or lack of checking?
Desks….has anyone ever taken a look inside of a middle school/high school classroom. Grafitti covers most of the desk and sometimes walls. Personally, I do my own cleaning and always have, but I can say that i am sick of it. I buy my own cleaning products and wash tables, computers, and windowsills which are apparently not part of the job for custodians. How did it become the job of the teacher???????????? Sometimes, I get the support of a few kind students who don’t mind a supporting me. But I’ve been told that they shouldn’t be cleaning…....what????? then why should i as i’m cleaning up their graffiti and mess.
And yes, I agree, it is not all custodians. Just the way it is with it not being the fault of all teachers that some children are failing. Look at the bigger picture….too many people are adopting the “it’s not my job” philosophy which hurts us all. And yes, absenteeism is definitely a problem.
Unions protect employees but sometimes it protects those who need to go. I’m sure with tougher evaluative measures things could improve the situation. If they don’t get their acts together then they might deserve what they get….privatization.
Lastly, Mr. Clark, do you think teachers are going to complain to you or their principals? Their is a “fear factor” in place in most schools and teachers keep their mouths closed.
Most of your points can be summed like this: The custodians are to blame for the city’s fiscal mess and the custodial union is responsible for poor even absent management; and the custodial union is responsible for negotiating both sides of their contract. I can’t think of way to respond that the NHI would allow to be published. I’ll just leave it there.
I understand the culture of fear and how it is deployed across the city. It starts in the mayor’s office and spirals out of control across the city, and has in fact, contributed greatly to many of our continuing problems and the embrace of scapegoats and phony solutions. At your school, the lack of custodial performance begins with the principal. He/she is the CEO of that building and it is their responsibility to see that the coursework, the teachers and the custodians are all doing their jobs. If your classroom is dirty, the principal should be held accountable not given a free pass.
Secondly, we pay AFB $100K a month to manage 180 people. It’s their failure.
Thirdly, we pay a whole bunch of people including Will Clark, Mayo and the mayor to effectively manage this workforce and to negotiate a fair labor contract. For them to complain about their own work product and blame somebody else for something they did is pro forma behavior.
Absenteeism is something a management company obviously monitors and strives to combat. But it must be hard when you’re managing a bunch of grown men who rather than taking pride in their work, are looking for any possible way to get out of it.
I keep hearing the word “Fear”
“Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
let me ask you this, is their a shortage of custodians in your building? is one out on comp? first off when a custodian is out, a fill in ONLY GETS 2 HOURS to clean that persons floor. what do you expect to be cleaned in 2 hours time.. inventory , come to my building where it takes a whole box of tp a night to fill the stalls, so that’s 3-5 a week here, but they only SEND 2 BOXES.. how am I to justify where not to place tp? you guys DONT SEE BOTH SIDES…you only want to see what they want you to see….
posted by: Tom Burns on June 28, 2010 10:23pm
Doyens——your points are well taken—thanks for the clarification on Mr. Welch’s sometimes good ideas(although spoken, yet seldom put into action by him)—yet his words might be useful to better our lot—-there are other leaders I would have preferred you used in your example—-maybe Mandela or someone on his level—-either way I believe what you are doing is beneficial to the betterment of our city—-Good Luck as you go forward—Tom
Can anyone explain to me why janitorial work in schools needs to be done by city employees?
Yeah, I thought so.
Of course all of these problems could be solved if public union members would agree to fair, equitable, and competitive pay for an honest day’s work.
Sounds to me like no one is doing their job - labor and supervisor alike, and that is grounds for termination - union or not. You show up on time, every day, and give your full commitment, or you can get packing. That goes double for management.
This would be completely unacceptable to any one of us were our employees behaving in this manner, threatening us with litigation if we do not guarantee their pay rates, and blaming us and their direct supervisors for their poor performance.
As a proud supporter of organized labor, this is disgraceful. Good riddance.
It is chilling to read the majority of this commentary. I deal with Local 32BJ daily. Believe me people, it is a BUSINESS like anyone other business in this town or any other town. The union aims to manipulate not only its members, but also the public’s perception of private business by scaring us with dramatic slogans like “Privatization = Corruption”. This phrase still baffles me. What is more corrupt? The ability for a town to meet its budget by negotiating with multiple companies to get the right price - or - being dictated to by the union the price that they demand?
No negotiation + No competition = Corruption.