Custodian Dispute

The second shift custodians were moved to third shift, and not everyone's happy about it.

By Rachel Cisto | 04/14/12 | Posted in News

The night custodians originally worked in three shifts to keep the buildings on the academic side clean and prepared for classes.

However, about a month ago, things changed. Workers were moved around, and the second shift was eliminated. Thirteen workers who used to work from 6 PM to 2:30 AM now work from 10 PM to 6:30 AM. And many custodians are unhappy about it. Custodian Norma Carbajal said, "I believe nobody likes third shift. Everybody that started on third shift moved to second or first. I started on third shift and worked third shift for a year and moved to second shift...and now I'm back? It's horrible. I don't like it."

John Michalewicz, senior director of Facilities, said that this was designed to allow for more time to clean the buildings. "It got to the point where the only solution was to align the staff with their opportunities to clean. We've done that, and it's been relatively successful."

However, the custodians don't think this is accurate. "The last class finishes at 10 PM, and we worked until 2:30 on the second shift. We had enough time to clean everything," said Carbajal.

However, Michalewicz said that to the best of his knowledge, the custodians are largely happy with the change.

“We keep in contact with them. We see them every day, they’re our employees, and we’re concerned about their well-being. But many of them find out that this actually works better for them.”

But one of the affected workers, who wished to remain anonymous, had this to say: “It’s disrupted my whole balance, you know? I feel, psychologically, my mind and my whole body is off balance.”

One custodian, who also didn't want to be identified, said that in some buildings, like the art studios and the communication labs, students are there all night, and moving shifts really didn't make a difference. “I pray to God every day”, she says, “that they’ll let us go back to the second shift.”

Senior Hannah Kluger began working with the custodians soon after she learned about the situation. “We have a petition circulating that we plan to bring to Walter Harrison sometime next week. There are about 300 signatures so far.” She has also started a Facebook group called "Reinstate the second custodial shift!" which you can find here: Within the group, there is also a link to a digital version of the petition.

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