EAST LANSING, MI
— The Michigan Education Association
, a union representing 155,000 school employees, has defended its use of a non-union cleaning firm in its headquarters, according to the Lansing State Journal
According to the story, the MEA pays non-union contract company Ellis Cleaning of Lansing
$114,000 a year despite the MEA''s history of fighting custodial privatization in public schools across the state.
Doug Pratt, communications director for the MEA, said: "There''s a difference between privatizing and working with a contractor. We''ve never changed."
Pratt continues, saying that the MEA has never employed in-house custodians, and says he does not believe a unionized cleaning firm even exists in the Lansing
area, the story stated.
He said: "These aren''t taxpayer dollars. You have school districts that are privatizing their support staff, going with low-ball contracts that end up not saving the district money, and the school board abdicates control over their employees. That is something that we believe is wrong."
According to Ellis Cleaning Company President Jerry Ellis, the company has had a contract with the MEA since 1995 and workers are paid between $7.40 and $15 per hour, the story added.