ISU workers criticize Board’s decision

By Vickie Snow

NORMAL_ More than 50 union workers protested the Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, claiming higher tuitions partly stem from poor management decisions.

Illinois State University’s decision to hire Servicemaster—a private janatorial firm—is the latest flap scrapping the Board.

Servicemaster reorganized the work of the building service workers based on square footage. But workers claim the new routines are making campus maintenance nearly impossible. Servicemaster began the $32,000 per month contract six months ago.

“Tuition is going to help pay for (the board’s) mistakes,” said physical plant worker Mabel Scott.

Steve Borberly, representing the AFSCEME (American Federal/State/County and Municipal Employees) said “there is nothing wrong with admitting it’s not working.”

The Board “paid a lot of money and blew it,” he said.

“One year ago, employees were proud to work here, and now there’s the lowest morale in 40 years,” Borberly said.

ISU Vice President Jim Alexander defended the contract by saying that jobs haven’t been lost and there is no threat to job security.

“It’s a relationship that will take some time to see the progress,” Alexander said.

Servicemaster’s contract expires in June, although workers want it terminated now.

“It’s too soon to call it quits,” said Milton McClure, chairman of the Regents Finance and Facilities Commitee.

Students were not present when Servicemaster decided what would be cleaned when, and now workers cannot do their jobs because they were assigned to clean areas during heavy student traffic. The new system also neglected items such as desks, chalkboards and toilets.

“Things that used to get cleaned ever day now get cleaned weekly,” Borberly said.

ISU Academic Senate Chairman Len Schmaltz said a senate committee will look into the dispute and said he does not agree nor disagree with workers’ protests.