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posted: 5/31/2014 8:00 AM

ECC to review new plan for custodial services

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Elgin Community College officials could decide the future of its custodial workers next week.

The college board will review a proposed plan for custodial services at a special meeting Wednesday.

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The administration has been looking into outsourcing custodial services to save money, which could mean potentially laying off roughly 98 full-time and part-time custodial employees. That idea sparked outrage.

Dozens of custodial workers, students and faculty members recently packed board meetings demanding the administration drop the idea of hiring an outside maintenance firm. It prompted officials to come up with an alternate plan.

ECC spokesman Jeff Julian said the proposed plan will address "efficiency, training, cost savings, and supervision."

"We believe this solution will address the college's issues as well as satisfy the concerns of the union and other interested parties," he said. Yet, the custodial workers' union representatives were not part of the discussions nor have they been told the details of the plan, said Vicki Bethke, president of the Support Staff of Elgin Community College Association.

"We're hopeful that the college is going to do the right thing," Bethke said.

"We're encouraging everyone, all of our custodians, all of our membership and the faculty to hear the review of this proposed plan firsthand. We all plan to be at that meeting to find out what this information is. We want to continue our solidarity."

The existing three-year contract with the custodial workers and support staff expires June 30.

The majority make less than $10 an hour, while the proposal asked outside contractors to pay the prevailing wage of $13.30, Bethke said.

Bethke said she expects if the proposed plan "had some impact on negotiations, that it would be brought to the table."

The special meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Seigle Auditorium of Building E on the college campus, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin.

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