MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Nearly 800 school custodial workers are angry and shocked they may lose their jobs, without a having a say in the matter.
Members of the Unified School Board voted Thursday night to outsource custodial work to save more than $11 million. The Unified School District is about $150 million in the red.
Custodial workers make about $13 an hour. Although outsourcing their jobs will save the unified district millions, now those workers' livelihoods are at stake.
For the past 15 years, Anthony McGhee has represented Local 1733 for MCS custodians and cafeteria workers. He claims many are single parents or have pre-existing illnesses, and this job is all they have left.
"We were furious because members that we represent come from the lowest paid employees at Memphis City Schools and trying to fill that budget gap on their back is just a travesty," he said. "It seems that there is very little consideration for those employees that have provided quality service for the Memphis City Schools over the years."
Not all the board members agreed to outsource the jobs. Commissioner Sara Lewis was so upset about the decision she stormed out of the meeting.
"You're going to be hearing from my lawyer," she stated to board members.
AFSCME Local 1733 phones have been ringing off the hook after Friday night's meeting with employees are wondering about their future, concerned about their retirement packages and other benefits.
McGhee said, "There are no guarantees at all whether they're going to be hired or qualified based on whatever that scenario their qualifications are, those are questions that are unanswered right now."
Custodial workers will meet Saturday morning at Local 1733 headquarters to answer questions and plan their next move.