Barrington High janitors bracing for contract talks

By Doug Graham
Posted5/4/2016 5:16 AM

Barrington 220 Area Unit School District 220 could choose to either pay outsourced janitors at least $10 an hour next year or decide to bring services in-house later this summer.

Around 15 Barrington High School janitors attended the District 220 board meeting Tuesday night to keep the issue of their wages on the district's radar in advance of contract talks that begin this week, according to a union representative.


"This school district can afford to support good jobs for custodians like me," Hector Aguilar said during public comment. "The school district should use tax dollars to pay us."

Board President Brian Battle said this year the board added a requirement that future contractors must pay Barrington High janitors at least $10 an hour.

"It was a joint decision by the board and administration," Battle said Tuesday after the meeting. "We felt it would provide the right balance between getting competitive bids while maintain the ability to attract quality people to be janitors."

Superintendent Brian Harris said the board also this year will look into bringing custodial services at Barrington High in-house like they are at all of the district's other buildings.

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The district will have a meeting Thursday to hear the bids from companies vying to provide custodial staff at Barrington High.

At the start of this school year, Barrington High's janitors went on strike to protest their hourly wages being cut from $9.77 to $8.50 by RJB Properties, the company now contracted to provide custodial services to the school. The strike lasted two weeks. RJB raised the janitors' wages to $9.50 an hour.

SEIU spokeswoman Izabela Miltko said Tuesday night a union representative will be at the Thursday meeting to see if the contracts being discussed are good ones for the workers.

Custodial services at Barrington High School have been contracted out for at least the last 25 years.

Harris said changing that has been discussed at some board committee meetings over the last several months. He said the decision to go in-house or continue to outsource will come before the board this summer before the current custodial contract expires July 1.

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