We are writing with an update on the plans for the reorganization of custodial services that have been under discussion over the past year. The university’s cleaning contractor, DTZ, is proceeding with a plan to restructure custodial services provided to Tufts in an incremental process beginning this month and concluding in August of this year. DTZ will continue to work with the local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that represents the workers to implement the restructuring.
Changes will occur over several months rather than the two weeks originally planned in order to ease the transition for the affected workers. Under DTZ’s collective bargaining agreement with the SEIU, layoffs will be based on seniority. We understand from DTZ that the reorganization will result in approximately 20 layoffs. Of these, 6 employees will receive layoff notices from DTZ today. The remainder will take place by the end of August. DTZ has committed to offering alternative employment opportunities in metro Boston for affected custodians as well as providing extended transition periods and training as needed.
DTZ’s reorganization plan will equalize custodians’ current workload by reducing frequency of cleaning in some areas, such as staff offices, and increasing the focus on areas where they are needed most, such as dormitories and athletic and library facilities. At the same time, DTZ will provide more efficient and ergonomically advanced cleaning equipment.
The custodial services reorganization is part of a university-wide effort to ensure that our administrative operations better support teaching and research. The reorganization was informed by a DTZ analysis that showed that cleaning operations at Tufts were significantly less efficient than at other comparable universities. It is expected that the reorganization will result in annual savings to Tufts of approximately $900,000.
The decision to restructure the janitorial staff was not made lightly. More information on the reasons for the reorganization is available on the opinion piece in the Tufts Daily in late April of 2015.
We value the contributions of the DTZ custodians at Tufts and believe this reorganization is in the best interest of the long-term fiscal health of the university and its aspirations for the future.