FWCS Officially Outsources 217 Custodians

By John W. Davis

FWCS Officially Outsources 217 Custodians

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 14, 2010 at 10:08 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Fort Wayne Community Schools approved outsourcing custodians at Monday night's board meeting.

The move will save the district $4.4 million dollars but current custodians say they are getting an overall raw deal.

All 217 outsourced custodians will be able to interview with sodexo management services.

However, with lower wages and higher health care costs, many custodians won't even bother applying.

"There's gonna be a lot of people at poverty level again who were just getting by on what we were making as custodians," said AFSCME President Michelle Tribolet.

Tribolet represents FWCS custodians and works third shift as a FWCS custodian.

Right now, the mindset of many fwcs custodians is why bother.

Wages have been cut from 30 to 40% and the cost to purchase health care will rise as well.

That's the deal that 217 custodial staff members will have a few weeks to ponder.

Option 1: apply to work at Sodexo and make between 9.50 And 11.50 an hour.

Option 2: "None of them said they're gonna go apply for Sodexo especially at those wages. They will make the same amount of money on unemployment and be able to get a better paying job somewhere else than working for a company that has insurance that will make you go broke," said Tribolet.

Drawing unemployment would net most custodians about 10 dollars an hour, that's equal to the average Sodexo wage.

Meanwhile, FWCS Board Member Kevin Brown voted "no" two weeks ago, and he voted "no" Monday night.

"I feel that a family member has passed away. Our custodial staff has been my heroes. When I needed help as a teacher they were always there," said FWCS Board Member Kevin Brown.

Brown said he could not sleep for the past two weeks and spent time investigating his no vote by interviewing administrators and custodians.

When the idea of outsourcing custodians was brought before the board and made public, cutting two million dollars was the goal.

FWCS administrators ended up saving $4.4 million dollars by outsourcing.

Brown said the dollar amount the district ended up saving was surprising as the district and custodians were close to an agreement of two million dollars in cuts. Brown still feels a deal between the two parties was possible.

FWCS will hold a transitional meeting with custodians Tuesday afternoon.

Sodexo will hold informational meetings for current custodial workers on Friday.




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