OSHKOSH – Dozens of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh staff marched Tuesday to protest a proposal to outsource grounds and janitorial perform to a non-public, out-of-state enterprise — a shift that would impact about 100 personnel.
UW-Oshkosh interim Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration Robert Roberts sent an email to custodians and grounds employees Aug. 22 informing them the university was contemplating contracting with SSC Providers — a business dependent in Knoxville, Tennessee, that functions with other UW Procedure campuses, including UW-Inexperienced Bay.
Any modify would affect UW-Oshkosh’s major campus as well as UWO Fox Metropolitan areas and UWO Fond du Lac. Mixed, the a few campuses have about 100 custodial staff who present cleaning and grounds retaining do the job.
In the email, Roberts explained the faculty has struggled to come across and retain employees and the pandemic “exacerbated” the scarcity, which is why UW-Oshkosh is on the lookout to outsource the careers.
In accordance to the electronic mail, present workers would “have the alternative” to work for SSC, which would supply increased pay back and a sign-on reward. But these personnel would no longer be suitable for state benefits they at present get while doing work for UWO.
Bob Knudsen, a member of UWO’s custodial workers who is effective at Halsey Science Setting up, explained many workers are fearful about losing condition benefits and pissed off that UWO is considering a “nuclear possibility” of outsourcing employment to try to correct a staffing shortage.
College administrative personnel held a Q&A session for faculty on Aug. 25. At that meeting, Knudsen mentioned the university said outsourcing jobs wouldn’t save money, but the staff think it could assist with retention for the reason that of greater salaries.
Knudsen disagrees, and thinks giving a signing reward would only support get staff right until the reward goes away. He also said he has an concern with performing for a organization that has to make a revenue, feeling it is “philosophically abhorrent” to what UW-Oshkosh values as a community university.
“Doing the job for a sub-contractor will not be as productive,” Knudsen claimed.
The Northwestern reached out to UW-Oshkosh for an job interview, but Director of Communications Natalie Johnson declined to make any individual obtainable for thoughts.
Alternatively, the university offered a assertion by way of electronic mail from Roberts:
“We have not yet entered into contract negotiations with the enterprise. Must we transfer ahead, employees have been informed they would be provided a position with the new enterprise, their salaries would improve with this company and they would receive a indication-on bonus. Every single impacted staff would meet with the new company to identify salary and gain offers.”
Knudsen doesn’t think hiring a distinct business would solve staffing shortages and could make the circumstance worse if current staff stop about issues about dropping their gains.
UW-Oshkosh faculty, some with the American Federation of Teachers union, joined the march Tuesday to support their fellow workers. The custodial and grounds employees aren’t represented by a union.
The protesters began their march from the Culver Family Centre toward campus alongside Wisconsin Road, wherever cars honked in guidance.
Gabriel Loiacono, an associate professor of background, said he was marching to stand with his coworkers at the college, specifically custodial customers who worked what was a “perilous” position through the pandemic.
Loiacono also explained the grounds crew has carried out a ton of get the job done with school and college students to concentrate on sustainability on campus, which includes rising native prairie vegetation. If all those work opportunities are outsourced, Loiacono explained, that may adjust the marriage amongst that team of employees and the relaxation of the campus community.
“It appears like it would be tougher to (build a connection) with workforce from a corporation from considerably away,” Loiacono mentioned.
As the team marched together a mall of UW-Oshkosh’s campus driving Reeve Memorial Union, lots of college students and many others joined in with chants of “Hey hey. Ho Ho. Keep the positions at UWO,” or cheered as they walked by.
Others talked with Knudsen, who was aiding them indication a petition expressing opposition to potentially outsourcing the jobs. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, it had garnered 359 signatures.
The march ended outside Dempsey Corridor, where by the school’s administrative offices are situated. That is where the workers chanted, “The men and women united will never be defeated,” to the administration.
Knudsen said he hopes the university will listen and delay any likely final decision on outsourcing careers.
“I’m proud to be a UW-Oshkosh personnel,” Knudsen reported.
Roberts mentioned in the Aug. 22 email that the university anticipated a choice “in the up coming couple weeks.”