Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dirty Schools!

Dirty Politics = Dirty Schools!
By Jim Vail

When it comes to politics, we know how dirty things can get.

When it comes to schools, it can get just as dirty!

I am the teacher delegate at Hammond Elementary School on the southwest side in Little Village. I just filed a grievance about the uncleanliness of our school.

Apparently, our case is not unusual. I've spoken to many teachers who have complained about the same thing at their schools.

The schools are dirty because the outsourced company Aramark, like the true corrupt corporate giant they are, fired many janitors to cut costs. They fired half of our janitorial staff at Hammond so that we have only two maintenance workers - one in the morning, and one in the afternoon - to service a school with about 500 children.

To put it bluntly, our floors are disgusting and I can barely stand teaching in the classroom.

The floors are not mopped because they do not have the staff to do it. Plus, staff informed me, they are to use special machines now - not the old mop and water - that are difficult to transport to the upper floors.

What does this mean?

Imagine those late night college keg parties the next morning with sticky floors caked in beer, pop, popcorn or God knows what else. 

Children in the primary grades have nose problems when they cannot always reach a tissue in time. That means their mucus will occasionally fall to the floor. And it ain't cleaned up!

And listen to this - I was told a manager from the Aramark company told our school they had to take the wax and give it to another bigger school.

Not to mention several employees stating that they were being cheated on their wages.

How much money has this company gotten?

You can't get much dirtier or disgusting than this. How Chicago Public Schools gets away with this is an interesting question.

I am first raising this issue on this education news blog. More media needs to report this.

The union SEIU Local 1 which represents the janitors will hold a rally at the CPS board meeting Wednesday, March 25 to protest these cruel cuts not only affecting the janitors, but the teachers like myself who must teach, and of course the children who are supposed to learn in such conditions.

"We keep our public schools and city buildings clean. Our work is essential to the City of Chicago. Bring our custodians back so we can get the work done," their flyer states announcing the rally scheduled for 10 am at CPS Board of Ed headquarters at 42 W. Madison.

Sources say the arrogance of this Aramark company is impressive. They are basically saying suck this when schools complain. 

Forbes Magazine reports that this company is one of the 20 largest private companies in America.

The Chicago Teachers Union passed a resolution condemning the CPS contract to grant Aramark up to $260 million to manage the public school custodial services until Feb. 2017.  

Here is the resolution as passed in the CTU:

Whereas Chicago Public Schools’ contract to Aramark proposes to grant Aramark up to $260 million dollars to manage public school custodial services between now and February of 2017, and

Whereas this money is coming out of the school system for services that the system currently does itself, and

Whereas this privatization of custodial services will almost certainly realize any savings to the district by laying off custodial employees and

Whereas such layoffs, affecting union sisters and brothers, will remove important adult members of our school communities from our buildings, and negatively impact our broader Chicago community, and

Whereas there are likely to be other negative effects, including schools which are less clean than they are now and

Whereas this privatization will almost certainly lead to further privatization in custodial services and building maintenance, beginning one more wave of privatizing attacks on our public 
education system

Therefore Be it Resolved. . . 

that the Chicago Teachers Union stands by our sister and brother custodians in any actions they may take to preserve their jobs and working conditions, And

That the Chicago Teachers Union denounces this contract as one more handout to a large corporation in a context of budget austerity in our schools, And

That the Chicago Teachers Union will seek to publicize this contract as an attack on public education by the Board.

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