Housekeeping and Maintenance Transition
Last updated on July 15, 2011
Beginning in April 2011, the University began a transition process aimed at moving responsibility for housekeeping and building maintenance to Facilities Services, which already oversees that work for most buildings on campus. Throughout the transition process, managers from Residence Halls and Commons, International House, and Facilities Services have met to discuss the transition with other staff members; union representatives; Resident Masters, Resident Heads and Resident Advisors; the Inter-House Council and House System Facilities Advisory Committee; representatives of Student Government and other student groups. The questions and answers below help explain the process, and will be updated as new information is available.
What specific changes are being made as a result of this transition?
The plan now under way moves responsibility for building maintenance and housekeeping functions from Residence Halls and Commons and I-House to Facilities Services, a division of Finance and Administration. Facilities Services is already responsible for this work in most buildings on campus. This change consolidates those functions in one administrative unit, taking advantage of the expertise and experience in Facilities Services.
Local 73 building engineers are now part of Facilities Services. The University will outsource some of the functions currently performed by housekeeping staffs in both RHC and I-House, as Facilities Services does for other buildings. Front desk services and event set up services functions will remain in Campus and Student Life.
Why are these changes being made?
As an institution, we are continually examining all aspects of our operations and looking for the best ways to provide services that support the University’s core academic mission. Recent assessments of our operations show that splitting these maintenance functions among different administrative units is not the best way to provide quality service or make good use of the University’s resources. We have a responsibility to be the best possible stewards of our resources in a way that is sustainable for the University in the long term.
Were the staff members allowed to provide feedback into how this transition is implemented?
Yes, input from staff has been a key part of implementation decisions, and we will continue to solicit that feedback. Throughout the transition period, several opportunities have been incorporated for staff members to provide their opinions on processes that work well and suggestions for issues that could be improved.
What is the timetable for this process?
Building maintenance functions transitioned on July 1, 2011. Transitions related to housekeeping and building management will occur through the end of August, with the new custodial vendor (ABM) in place effective August 15, 2011.
How and when were staff and students told about these changes?
Beginning in early April, meetings were held with staff members in Campus and Student Life and Facilities Services, as well as Resident Masters, Resident Heads and RAs, and key student leaders to communicate these changes. The goal of the meetings was to give each group an opportunity to learn about the changes and ask questions. Managers have communicated regularly with affected employees throughout the transition process. We will remain in communication with student groups and other constituent groups as this process, offering additional written materials and meetings when appropriate.
What is the current status of the University’s custodial vendor bidding process?
ABM has been selected as the custodial vendor, and will begin their new contract on August 15. As part of the bidding process, ABM was asked to include a process in its proposal to offer priority employment consideration for all current University staff members who wish to apply for positions with the vendor.
Will staff pay and/or benefits be affected by these changes?
Many staff have been offered and accepted new jobs with the University at similar (in some cases higher) pay. For staff members who accept employment with ABM, there may be some changes to pay level, benefits and mandated deductions. When all the disparities are taken into account, staff members will receive a very comparable level of compensation. One of our goals throughout this process is to treat our employees fairly, and with respect. We believe that the agreement reached with Union Leadership and ABM reflects that commitment.
What will happen to housekeepers’ jobs?
Sixteen current Local 743 housekeepers have accepted newly created full-time jobs with the University (still represented by Local 743) as either Event Service Workers or Building Maintenance Workers. Others have an opportunity to work for ABM, in jobs at a few different levels (there are lead and custodial opportunities). Upon completion of an application and a successful background check, all impacted housekeepers will be offered jobs with ABM.
Will housekeepers receive severance pay?
All impacted housekeeping staff members not remaining in University jobs are eligible for enhanced severance packages whether or not they accept a position with ABM. Accrued vacation, sick time and personal holidays will be paid out in accordance with the contract as well.
Did the building engineers go back to 40 hours per week on July 1st?
Yes, the building engineers that transitioned to FS on July 1 were moved to 40 hours per week.
Will engineers and housekeepers remain assigned to their current buildings?
Our intention is for staff members to remain in their assigned building location prior to implementation and during a transition period post-implementation. There may be needs identified during the transitional phase, or feedback provided by staff members that could result in changes to this plan. As decisions are made, they will be communicated to staff.
Will students in residence continue to see the same housekeeping staff in their halls on a day to day basis after this transition is complete?
It is our intention to work with ABM to achieve as much consistency in staff assignments as possible.
Which groups of staff members will transition to Facilities Services, and which will remain in Campus and Student Life?
All building engineers transitioned to Facilities Services on July 1st. Oversight of the cleaning function and some management staff will also transition to Facilities Services through the end of August.
Why are the desk clerks not affected by this transition?
The intent of this change is to take advantage of the physical plant expertise in Facilities Services. Front Desk operations are not a core function provided by Facilities Services, therefore they will remain under the management of Campus and Student Life.
Who will manage access to the residence and private living space of student and staff by Facilities Services staff?
Access to residence and private living space will continue to be provided by Campus and Student Life staff.
Who will supervise the residence hall front desks?
Management of the front desk operations will remain within Campus and Student Life.
Will response time for routine housekeeping and work orders be different?
This initiative is aimed at maintaining or improving service levels.
Will the House System Facilities Advisory Committee continue to exist and have value in the future?
Yes, Campus and Student Life and Facilities Services will continue to work with this group as a way to hear feedback and to gain valuable insight into operations in the House System.