MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Hundreds of jobs are on the line. The Unified School Board voted and agreed to outsource custodial work. This will be a cost savings of $11.5 million, and also affect 750 employees. There is no guarantee they will be hired with the new company.
It took the board more than 3 hours to come up with a vote. The closer it gets for the unified school district to open the harder 23 board members can agree on anything.
“We should allow these two contractors to file a bid at which point the board to vote to outsource and see which firm will oversee the contract,” said a school board member David Pickler.
“I’m not going to vote outsource custodial jobs,” said another school board member Rev. Kenneth Whalum, Jr.
“I am not going to do this,” said Commissioner Sara Lewis.
Things got so heated Commissioner Lewis stormed out of the meeting. She says she overheard someone from the board saying that outsourcing the jobs to another company is a done deal. She said it was a conversation she overheard in Las Vegas back in May.
“I’m going to do everything in my power to expose what I know has occurred, that is not a threat ladies and gentleman that is a promise. Ya’ll know who I’m talking about! I’m going to get to my lawyer,” said Lewis.
One company that wants to take over is based out of Cleveland, Ohio. It’ll pay employees less than MCS, will have cheaper insurance, work less hours, but will hire more people. AFSME Local 1733 represents the custodial workers and wanted board members to be compassionate when slashing jobs.
“I want them to look into the faces of the mothers, and the fathers, the brothers, the sisters, the aunts, and uncles that have cared for these children all these years and honestly say to them we’re doing this just for money? I have a problem with that,” said ASFME Local 1733 member Gail Tyree.
Board members also decided to slash employee benefits. They decreased their benefits in order to save about $15 million. The board approved dropping effective cost share on health insurance premiums to 63 percent that the employer pays.
On Tuesday, March 5, the board will decide which company will win the bid to outsource custodial work.