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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.

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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