Privatizing CPS. Are the crickets unionized?


A reader of mine writes:

Chicago Tribune reported on this a few days past. Even though schools are filthy to the point of parents needing to volunteer their time to clean the schools and supply bathroom essentials included in janitorial contracts, the board has decided to double down and expand contracted janitorial services to 70% of schools. Magic Johnson holds a large stake in the company. He also sells ancillary educational materials and has two other lucrative contracts with CPS. Is Rahm star struck? Why isn’t this travesty being investigated?

Why, indeed. Although by now the stuff by Mayor Shady that is under investigation is probably leading to a shortage of investigators.

They may have to outsource that job as well.

The other question is the lack of any serious response from the leadership of the local unions representing CPS non-certified staff that are not in the CTU.

It’s not as if the schools contracted to be cleaned by Aramark have proven to be models of success.

But SEIU has been largely silent on Mayor Shady’s lastest plan to expand the number of schools outsourcing  and to fire current employees and replace them with Aramark.

Aramark’s CPS custodians represented by SEIU barely make over $15 an hour and many full-time positions have been cut to half-time.

Rahm announced Friday his plans to out-source school engineer jobs to Sedexo.

In a letter to engineers on Monday, CPS said it would fully move to private management by the summer of 2018. That means more than 500 engineers could lose their jobs, and if hired back, would move into a separate union for private-sector workers, according to CPS.

“CPS appreciates the dedication and hard work of its engineers, and it is important that you know that the decisions are being made and contemplated are about efficiency and not about how much your work is valued,” chief administrative officer Jose Alfonso de Hoyos-Acosta wrote. He added that CPS will require vendors to hire back engineers who get laid off in the process.

Hoyos-Acosta also told principals in a similar letter that “Our objective is to minimize staff disruption; unlike previous service delivery models, we will work to minimize any potential turnover or bumping,” adding, “I know from conversations with many of you that the way facility services have been provided to you this year has been challenging.”

The Board of Education currently employs about 520 engineers in its 600-plus buildings who are in charge of each school’s boiler, heat and other major infrastructure. Many of them are responsible for more than one building, which some say leads to problems such as a boiler leak at Prussing Elementary School last fall. About 80 children and staffers were hospitalized after carbon monoxide pervaded the building. The engineer who was assigned to Prussing part-time had had complained about the boiler’s problems.

An official at International Union of Operating Engineers Local 143, which represents the engineers, declined to comment. The local has a meeting scheduled for Thursday night.

“Declined comment.”

Do they need time to think about it?

One Reply to “Privatizing CPS. Are the crickets unionized?”

  1. Rahm’s actions would not only lower the wages and insurance coverage for engineers, but drastically reduce their pensions. Sodexo will then cut the numbers of engineers, and assign numerous schools to each engineer. It will drastically reduce the quality of the maintenance and safety of the school buildings. When something goes wrong, it could be days before they could get an engineer to the school, and it could well be an engineer who has never been to that school before. The engineer then has to analyze and find the cause of the problem. That takes more time then it would for an engineer familiar with that particular building. Engineers regularly assigned to a school become familiar with every inch of their building. They know the location of every pipe, valve, pump, motor, sensor, switch, wire, circuit, alarm, and safety control in the building. They know exactly what is and is not normal for a particular building, and often can spot problems and fix them before they become too serious. The contractors tend to “fix upon failure”, waiting until something completely fails before doing anything about a problem. The CPS engineers also keep an eye on outside contractors doing work in the buildings. The quality of the contractors work, especially non-union contractors, gets very sloppy if no one is watching. Just knowing the engineer will look at their work encourages them to do the job properly.
    We have seen what has happened with the cleanliness of the schools when the work was contracted out. The same thing will happen to the heating, cooling, lights, fire alarms, electrical systems, doors, windows, plumbing, and everything else. They will quit working, and not be fixed for weeks or months.
    CPS’s attitude is “your safety is not our concern”.

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