Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Hundreds to protest proposed privatization

March 4, 2010

UTICA, MI — Hundreds of custodians and supporters are planning a protest of next week''s Utica Community Schools'' board meeting in opposition of the district''s consideration of outsourcing custodial services, according to The Detroit News.

According to the story, the district''s proposed plan would save as much as $4.4 million a year, but would lay off all of the 156 custodians working for the district.

Superintendent Christine Johns said: "Ninety percent of our budget is people. The issue is about salary, wages and retirement costs."
Union members say they have made concessions — like agreeing to take furlough days — in the past, and are concerned that other labor areas like food service may be next on the chopping block, the story stated.

Bill Turner, chapter chairman of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1664''s operations, grounds and warehouse unit, said: "We''re hoping that the school district will sit down and negotiate with us. We''d like to keep our jobs. Most of us live in the community and have kids that attend Utica Community Schools."

The school district is considering the privatization in an effort to close a $31 million deficit, the story added.

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