Thursday, September 18, 2008

It was a hard day

Today, about 250 custodial employees for the Collier County School District found out that their jobs will be outsourced to a private company. They will possibly be rehired by the company, but are subject to salary cuts and loss of benefits. It was intense after the decision was made by the school board, 3-1, to cut the jobs. After the vote, people immediately left the meeting, went outside, held each other and cried.

Read the story Here


12 comments:

tspinski@gmail.com said...

Good work. It's interesting how the same people that holler about "small town values" turn around and do this to their fellow citizens. Every time we privatize a sector of the workforce, accountability evaporates, the tax payer gets the shaft, and the employees are exploited. At what point do we choose heart over capital?

mom said...

A better way may have been to allow current employees to keep what they had and have the private company take care of new hires.Tax payers aren't being hurt if the same work is getting done for less. This is a government agency , the Collier County School District, they shouldn't be making "capital" but they should show some heart to loyal employees.

Jakob Schiller said...

It makes me sick. And these pictures make me want to wave my arms and legs wildly in the air as a show of my pure frustration. I second Spinski, when do we start choosing people over profit, and when do we walk the walk instead of just exploiting the talk.

tspinski@gmail.com said...

Maybe the tax payer doesn't directly get the shaft. But indirectly, I think it does more harm than good. The people that are let go have to either go on government assistance, or take another job in an ailing economy...which presumably would be at best the same, if not lower wage. I don't think there is a huge market for "custodial engineers." The company with the lowest bid gets the contract. So they are undoubtedly paying less than Collier County School District was paying it's custodians. Do their employees get health insurance? If not, health care costs are passed off to the tax payer if they need medical care. Not to mention the health care costs of all the folks laid off who are now one medical emergency away from bankruptcy. I think that the near-sighted result on paper is saving money, while a look down the road shows a ripple effect that hurts just about everyone.

Lexey said...

The custodial employees did have benefits through the school. Some of the employees were married and both spouses worked at a school in the district, so now both are out of a job.

The school board's stance was that they cut custodial staff or they cut media assistants who have direct contact with the students. If those are your only two options to save money, I can see the school board choosing the custodians because their responsibility is to the education of the students.

Question remains if they could have found another place to save money. Which is why one of the board members voted no against the motion to cut the custodians. She wasn't convinced they hadn't looked for every option.

An interesting thing about this is that the group they are going to use to clean the schools now is a company that the new superintendent used at his old school in Illinois.

The whole thing is sad.

I shot a football game last night and I recognized the man who always opens the gate for me to get on the field at Naples High School from the meeting and one of the protests I've shot. These people have worked at the schools for years and there is a trust there with the students and with members of the community. You won't get that through a private company.

irvmarmik said...

There is a huge difference between private and public sector jobs. In the private sector, most salaries are not accompanied with medical or life insurance benefits. The hourly wage is all the employee receives in compensation for their labor. In the public sector, most salaries are accompanied with medical benefits and many with life insurance benefits as well. The difference being that most public sector employees are members of unions and are afforded the benefits and protections of the collective bargaining process, while private sector employess go one on one with their respective employers for their compenstation.
If you do the math for the Collier
School district custodial staff, they earn, on average, $51,000 per year including benefits. It is very doubtful that there are many private sector custodial jobs that would pay anything near that.
The problem here is that our public school systems have fallen prey to the same beauracratic woes that have beset the rest of the public sector. There is just not enough money to go around. That is a cold, hard fact.

Lexey said...

wow, i wish the Naples Daily News bloggers gave comments that were this intellegent. ;-)

Love you all. Thanks for making it a discussion. It needs to be talked about.

Education should be where our public money goes. First and foremost. In my opinion. Our nation is nothing without decent education.

When one third of the money that comes from Florida's toll road go to earmarks for other states, like $6 million to clean graffiti in New York City, you have to wonder where the hell the priorities are.

irvmarmik said...

One more point about the difference between private and public sector benefits. Most private sector employees do pay their own medical expenses, either through private insurance policies or with cash. On the other hand, almost all public sector employees medical expenses are paid by the public.

irvmarmik said...

By the way, I wish I could get this much discussion on my blog. How do you rate, anyway?

Lexey said...

HA. i have friends who like to hear (or read) themselves talk.

Jakob, Tristan (and everyone else)

that was a joke. :) :) :)

irvmarmik said...

Besides, my blog has tunes.;)

mom said...

Regardless of our thoughts on the Boards decision - your photos show real people having very real emotions, which leads me to echo Tristan's sentiment- Good work.