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OCC Custodians: 'Don't Outsource Our Jobs'

College considers taking custodial services private

Custodial workers at Ocean County College on Tuesday called on the institution's Board of Trustees to reconsider a plan to eliminate their jobs and hire an outside contractor.

"We have committed our lives and our careers at this college," said Thomas Zaborowski, who works the night shift. "We planned to end our careers here until last Wednesday when the rumors were confirmed."

Zaborowski said the college privatizing custodial services won't mean "better labor," but will negatively affect the lives of long-time employees and their families.

"I've been here for four years, two years as a reservist," said Ellen Parashis, another custodial employee who often works at night. "I couldn't wait to work here full time. I'm proud to be here."

"You're just going to throw us out, and it's not right," she told board members. "I went out and got my boiler's license. I was so happy to go out and try to advance."

Sarah Winchester, the college's vice president for finance, said a request for proposals has been written that would require whatever company takes over custodial operations to hire current employees.

"The college is going to require that the company hire all of the current employees at their current rate of pay," said Winchester.

But the assurance of a job – at least initially – didn't pass muster with workers, who said they would lose their health benefits and pension if privatization occurred. They also said promises of a job and a steady pay rate might not last.

"We'll get hired at our current rate of pay," said Zaborowski. "But who's to say they will not fire us for any reason, or no reason – which is allowed in New Jersey – a couple months after that. Then they could bring in their low-paid employees."

Chris Berzinski, a field representative with the New Jersey Education Association, is representing the custodial employees in the matter, and called the privatization proposal "a mistake."

"If the college wants to privatize because they think they can save some money on some poorly paid private employees with no benefits, the old adage 'you get what you pay for' is going to apply," he said.

Berzinski said other employers have found that privatization is not always the best option for saving money.

"Ultimately, you will find that you have less reliable employees in your buildings, at a greater cost, over whom you have no direct control," he said.

College officials did not wish to comment.

If the plan goes through a private company would take over custodial services in June.

Spooner February 26, 2013 at 04:52 PM
knarfie & others- you bring up a good point: starting at the top. There was this interesting story I came across yesterday having to do with NYU, and the nomination of Jack Lew who received a nice gift from that university while he was there...While they raised tuition 40% during his tenure, they bought the new Treasury Secretary nominee a $1.3M home up in the affluent Riverdale section of the Bronx.
Whatever February 26, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Donna, the college is trying to shave off the benefits, while crying poverty. People have been living with not getting a raise in four years, but they hang on for the benefits. The college wants to save money on benefits, but is not losing the money on enrollment to justify such a move. If they really need to save money, then just paint the Student Center, instead of Buying a new one.
naturally February 26, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Shame on OCC ,this is an utter disgrace.There is a high cost for cheap labor. Destroying good jobs and replacing them with low paying jobs without healthcare or retire plans is not going help strengthen the middle class nor will it grow the U.S. economy.The move doesn't save money and so reverse privatization is on the rise. Realizing the mistake employers are now bringing outsourced work "back in house".
Waterbelle February 26, 2013 at 05:35 PM
I believe the outsourcing will be good. Should happen in public schools as well, especially Brick. I know people who are on janitorial staff that have a lot of long breaks/lunches, disappearances from the job site, and have side jobs that conflict with their work schedule, borrow school property for personal use...yet they continue to be gainfully employed with benefits and complain of lack of $$ during summer break. No one disrupts the 'buddy system' by tattling. Maybe outsourcing will curtail some of the abuse while cutting costs with better monitoring of the work force. Good workers deserve to be rewarded with good benefits. What ever happened to janitors who used to clean windows, pull weeds growing into school windows and be a 'jack of all trades' with repairs???? Nowadays the union protects them...allowing them to engage in emptying waste baskets and moping floors...all else...gotta call a specialist in...thats where the $$$ is being misused. Too many people think they are 'special' and only want to perform minimal job functions they want instead of what is needed. Ahh, the benefits of the NJEA and unions. Dontcha just love it... I say outsource...go all the way.
Donna Griffin February 26, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Spooner - And Mr. Lew's consequence for his mindful stewardship of NYU?!? The President places him in charge of the US Treasury. Talk about the fox watching the henhouse. President Obama is either clueless or deliberate in his appointments for a more nefarious agenda. And all the while....we sit back and eat cake (provided our income still allows us that luxury).
Donna Griffin February 26, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Whatever - With all due respect, I find it hard to sit on the pity pot for anyone who did not EARN a raise in four years considering my salary has decreased by 30% and my insurance premiums have increased by 20% in the same timeframe. To whom do I complain and to whom do I go to in order to make up the difference?!? Seems like your asking the taxpayer to do just that in this instance. The economy is in the tank. EVERYONE is hurting and those in the real world who have jobs are grateful for them. We are OK with the pain of a dismal economy being spread out across the populace with the one exception of civil service employees who for some unknown reason we feel should be exempt from any downward turns in this recession. The rub is that we fund their positions by virtue of our taxes. We also are 100% solely responsible for our own pensions, healthcare benefits, vacation packages, etc. without the benefit of dime one from the taxpayer. It seems like a pretty twisted sense of justice. Wouldn't you say? As far as capital improvements on campus, they will stop as well. The piggy bank is now collecting cob webs. Job cuts are intended to tug at our heartstrings. I say go for it. Then explain to the taxpayer how a shiny new building is going to teach Johnny how to read. Americans have settled for substandard education results for decades. I can't imagine that having a private janitorial staff at OCC is going to matter a hill of beans in improving that.
Spooner February 26, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Obama, in my opinion is a fraud when it comes to Wall St. Lew; like Geitner, Summers, and Rubin...are all cut from the same cloth. Lew is a continuation of the political payoffs from Wall St money. . .Nothing new there.
MTBottle February 26, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Not always, Point Pleasant Borough schools outsoursed the custodial staff years ago and from what I can see they do a fine job. The schools still employ maintenance workers and such, but the cleaning was outsoursed. I see or hear of no plans to go back to inhouse cleaners. And if this was your buisness, you would go for the best bang for your buck, regardless. Now excuse me while I go listen to our next President give his NJ Budget Address on 101.5!!
Proud Pappa February 26, 2013 at 08:08 PM
Have the "dean" give back his $50,000 Chrysler that the college bought him..NOOOOOO lets dump the true workers....unreal!
Victor February 26, 2013 at 08:47 PM
I was a VP of sales for a major car manufacturing company and believe me, they are not interested in bringing these jobs back. The overseas companies that we dealt with were very efficient and well run. They were not unionized and they were not sweat shops like the unions here want you to believe.
Michael Capo February 26, 2013 at 09:27 PM
I just read the article a lot more carefully. NJEA will get involved..........NO WORRIES.
Whatever February 26, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Donna, with all due respect, I think you know not of which you speak. It's not that people are not doing their jobs, or not EARNING their raise at OCC. The college Administration basically asked the union to give back EVERYTHING, with little to nothing in return. But tell me this, why do the people in the Upper Administration get big pay raises, and Living allowances on the TAXPAYER dime? Before you torpedo the people cleaning up the garbage people leave behind, what about the FAT CATS who do nothing except get big paychecks for sitting on their ASSES, and trying to screw over the DEAF CUSTODIANS!! AND if you have lived in Jersey for more than 5 minutes you would know that those CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS will stop, once the DOUBLE DIPPING does!!! YEAH RIGHT!!! Or should I say FUGGEDDABOUDIT!!!!
Donna Griffin February 26, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Whatever - My new mantra is that we get the government we deserve. We continue to vote big spenders into office and then are shocked at their nepotism. But to think for one minute that the "unions" are about saving the taxpayer one pretty penny is naive. The unions are about self-promotion, and the little guy would make a bit more in their paycheck without having to contribute to the overhead of their "protectors." Yes, the fat cat administrators who serve at the behest of the taxpayer could use a haircut in line with the economic condition of the nation. But one thing you need to at least admit is that a college administrator can do the janitor's job, but the janitor cannot run a university. For that reason, some folks will always EARN more than others. Again, you are very interested in preserving the benefits of civil service employees. Will you be kind enough to cut me a check for my shortfall in salary as a private business owner? My friend, NO ONE should be immune to the dismal condition of our nation's economy. If the private sector is cutting back expenses, then too should the public sector.
foggyworld February 26, 2013 at 10:48 PM
We can't continue with a double tier society where the civil "servants" get job security, higher than the norm paychecks and benefits galore while the folks who are not civil servants, are given usually none of those perks. One size has to fit all because those outside of government employment are being taxed into the ground to overpay for often what are relatively simple services. We are broke and that means every bit of excess has to go and hopefully our politicians will wake up soon and start learning about debits and credits. Way too many lawyers involved who are deal makers - not managers.
clamdigger February 26, 2013 at 11:12 PM
as I'm reading the Patch Home Page, I see on the right side where the ad's are located is an ad for Casey's Cleaning Service, offering home and office cleaning services along w/ a picture of about 7-8 people I assume are employees. it just seems kind of ironic, here's a group of people trying to drum up their own work and the people at the college are going to get sacked to hire people who are in business for themselves. someone up the list of posters had it right when they said the college workers should get together and form their own company.
Whatever February 26, 2013 at 11:41 PM
Donna, what country are you living in? What choices do we have? The only candidate that made any fiscal sense for President was RON PAUL, and he was BLACKED OUT by the entire MAINSTREAM media, including FOX NEWS! We are given the choice of the lesser of two evils, even though we have had MAJOR movements in the past few years with THE TEA PARTY, and OPERATION WALL STREET. It's the PEOPLE IN POWER that have SUPPRESSED any REVOLT against their authority, so do not say that people are just voting for BIG SPENDERS because they want or deserve them, when in reality we are not even being given a REAL choice in the first place. I'm not saying that UNIONS are innocent in all of this, but going after the people on the bottom is a weak, and easy move, rather than implementing NEW strategies to a business model. And I would pay to see a COLLEGE ADMINISTRATOR clean a toilet or do the janitor's job, because it is beneath them. And btw, there are custodians that were teacher's, and lost their jobs because of those Administrator's keeping all of that HARD EARNED TAX PAYER MONEY for themselves, instead of giving their subordinates a pittance of a raise! I am sorry if your business isn't doing well, and you have to take a pay cut, maybe you should explore the FREE MARKET, and find another line of work, or a NEW business model. In the meantime you should stop attacking people that have done you no wrong, and are just trying to earn a living, because of your failures as a business owner.
Donna Griffin February 26, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Whatever - Agreed....there is no difference in political parties and until a legitimate, electable, third party candidate arises, we are stuck with the same deadbeat legislators we have who place (locally speaking for the moment) their pals in paid positions INCLUDING janitorial spots! I have nothing against any janitors working at OCC just as I have nothing against the janitors working for private local businesses. I am concerned that our economy is nearly irreversibly ruined and whether it is a civil servant on the unemployment line or a small business employee there, you should be equally concerned. THAT is my primary point in a nutshell. Lastly, I challenge you to find me a janitor employed at a hospital qualified to perform brain surgery on your family member. I am making the point that certain skill sets mastered by a limited number of people will earn them more wealth over the course of their lives. My position on that is: Good for them. It is a classic case of supply and demand. I'm not jealous. I'm not angry. I am grateful that we have people trained in a whole host of specialties. It seems like you've got a bit of an issue with success. Personally, I've taught my kids that successful careers derived through honest and hard work are admirable. Envy never put food on anybody's table. Have a good night!
Tarkus February 27, 2013 at 01:31 AM
I'd like to know what moron taught you to type and make a coherent sentence.
Tarkus February 27, 2013 at 01:31 AM
You sir, are an idiot!
Tarkus February 27, 2013 at 01:33 AM
I'd like to know what moron taught you to type and make a coherent sentence,PT.2.
Whatever February 27, 2013 at 02:19 AM
Donna, I would not want anyone unqualified to perform surgery...on anyone. I have no problem with success, but when it is at the expense of the little guy, I have a problem with that. When the College President gets a fat salary, and living allowance, I don't begrudge him what he's earned. But why is he so eager to take what others have worked for, when sacrificing nothing for the good of the College? IMO, you seem to think that people like Janitor's and Custodian's are expendable casualties of doing business. Maybe some can not do any better, or can not afford an education. Does that make them any less of a human being, because they do not fit your definition of success? If they work hard doing their job, don't they deserve a decent salary, with benefits? In your eyes no, because they are just a cleaning person. To me that is an elitist, snobby view. I believe that no matter who you are from the President to the guy who sweeps the floors, you both put your pants on one leg at a time. Envy has nothing to do with it. I tell my kids to work hard, and get their education, and they will achieve success. Hopefully the economy will be better once they enter the job market. But I do not want to see anyone on the unemployment line, especially anyone who does their job for four years without a raise, and is only getting screwed out of a job because some GREEDY Administrator wants to line his pockets with the extra Savings! Enough!
KC February 27, 2013 at 04:50 AM
You think it saves the town money? Google "Cheap Tomatoes" . You scum that do nothing but slash slash slash do not realize the implications of unemployment and the fact that the taxpayers have to subsidize all of these minimal wage jobs that provide no benefits. Are they even legal citizens? Do you give a crap? Shame on you Brasco. I say we save more money and eliminate YOUR JOB.
KC February 27, 2013 at 04:51 AM
Waterbelle you said it that good workers deserve benefits but clearly, that is NOT happening.
KC February 27, 2013 at 04:53 AM
Bravo, Kelley.
KC February 27, 2013 at 04:54 AM
Pig trough for the pigs at the top. They who have "no comment" need a good old school ass whollup.
KC February 27, 2013 at 05:03 AM
You are naieve. There is no shortage of money in this country! Repeat, THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF MONEY IN THIS COUNTRY. What there is, is a general decline in social responsibility and a systematic destruction and dismantling of the middle class. The thieves at the top steal while the naieve mistakingly entertain the notion that we are somehow running out of money. We are running out of common sense. If you don't believe me read the retail projections. The Walmarts, Kmarts and Targets have terrible sales quarters and projections while the Nordstroms and high end retailers are doing just swell. Please SNAP OUT OF IT. We are in the midst of an employment holocaust and the naieve of the world need to educate themselves that they are not saving money by laying more people off to unemployment, medical and mental issues and crime. As it is there are no jobs in this one ass county apart from these pigs who cut, cut, cut. You are drinking the koolaide.
KC February 27, 2013 at 05:08 AM
So you will just pick up another stone and join in eh? How do you live with yourself? Wait til your kids go jobless that little attitude might just bite you in the butt.
KC February 27, 2013 at 05:31 AM
KC 12:29 am on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 Yeah you think so? And just where do these minimal wage job earners live? In some flop house here in Point or Brick? Where are their (illegal?) children attending school? Are they maintaining their own medical insurance with that minimal wage or are they showing up at the ER so the rest of us can pay? Do their children buy their own breakfast and lunch or is the tax payer assisting them with meals because they are minimal wage earners. Does he qualify for Section 8 housing, subsidized rent, or food stamps? Those points elude you don't they kinda like Donna G who "suggests that if the pay scale is so unappealing at the college that the staff look for employment elsewhere." She speaks as if she is a child of privilege who has not had to look for a job in the last decade. She has her nose so far up in the air she can't see that the middle class lifestyle she only believes she is grooming her kids for will be nonexistant. It is a wakeup call to Americans. Do the right thing. What happens to the least of us happens to the best of us. Why is the head honcho pig at the trough of this college offering "no comment"? Think about that for a while. This is immoral what is happening and to pretend otherwise is like the Germans did when Hitler reigned. Be warned What goes around comes around. You can now be dismissed to the donut cart to whom you mistakenly believe will be the next president lol. Me I like em lean and mean.
KC February 27, 2013 at 05:34 AM
Did you have a union or a non union spelling and grammar teacher? I think we all can guess.
Donna Griffin February 27, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Whatever - Read the story again. The "fat cats" are not eliminating the positions. They are substituting them with a less expensive alternative to the taxpayer. THAT is their job. NJ is rife with the overpayment of administrator's salaries and that is an argument for another day. Just look at the nearly 600 public school districts this small state funds. Look at merely the coaching contracts at Rutgers that are being paid out long after those coaches are fired. It's disgusting. But whenever and wherever a penny can be saved, I say it's a good start. I am not for the government determining how to be charitable with my money. Janitors will be working and being paid at OCC. It's just not the ones that you would prefer in the job at a higher cost to the taxpayer.

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