Not sure about the headline choice, but I like that the U of C is covering this.
“Devastated,” says Linda, a housekeeper in a University of Chicago dormitory. That’s how she felt when she heard the news. “I was devastated. I felt like we weren’t going to have a job anymore…We don’t know what to do. We’re just waiting here like sitting ducks.”
In a meeting with housekeepers on April 7, University of Chicago administrators announced their plans for major changes to the current housekeeping staff. The proposal calls for a consolidation of Housing personnel, the full-time housekeepers who serve the residence halls, and Facilities staff, who work in on-campus buildings. Additionally, the proposal suggests outsourcing housekeeping jobs. In an e-mail interview, University spokesman Steven Kloehn clarifies that the plan involved “the hiring of a contractor, a firm outside the University staff, which would be responsible for performing that work.” Currently, workers in the Housing staff receive their paychecks directly from the UofC, and Facilities workers are employed by a private sub-contractor. If all goes according to the University’s plan, a new, independent cleaning company will manage the housekeepers in all dorms, on-campus buildings and the surrounding grounds.
The purpose of the change, according to University officials, is to increase efficiency and quality of service by consolidating the Housing and Facilities services under one umbrella. Shortly after the housekeeping staff was notified of the change, a document of frequently-asked questions was sent to all Resident Heads, emphasizing the “functional expertise” of the Facilities staff. The consolidation, according to the document, would provide the “best leverage [of] the skills and resources we have at the University.” However, the department merger spells an uncertain future for campus workers and the possibility of lay-offs hangs over their head. (Read more by clicking link above).