“Over my 10 years, it has never been this bad,” a custodian at King High school says. “We as custodians work tough for the children in the institutions to have actually a an excellent place come learn.”


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SEIU local 1 custodians protest outside of elafilador.net Public institutions headquarters demanding accountability for Aramark and also CPS after failure to keep institutions clean and also safe. Brian Rich/Sun-Times
One elafilador.net Public institutions custodian said she buys mops, brooms, rubbish bags and also disinfectant herself due to the fact that her college isn’t stocked. And when she was the end for two weeks, she came earlier to discover her part of the college hadn’t to be cleaned.

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Another said he it s okay paid about a month late.

One said her college gets 24 rolfes of toilet paper each main to share 25 bathrooms.

Despite year of complaints that the institution district and also the service providers it hires to clean its structures haven’t done an enough job, union janitors say institution working conditions are as poor as ever before — even compared to a 2018 scandal that motivated protests and promises for change. Quick staffing, a lack of clean supplies and general mismanagement through janitorial firm Aramark are amongst the contributing problems, in your view.

“I to be frustrated due to the fact that here we space three years later, and it’s the same precise story,” said Maria Villegas, a custodian at Sayre elementary school in Galewood top top the Northwest Side.


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Villegas, that spoke with a Spanish interpreter, joined a few dozen custodians stood for by SEIU local 1, donning the union’s signature violet shirts and chanting “more staff, much more supplies, us are here to organize,” as they protested Wednesday external CPS’ Loop headquarters.

An 18-year veteran the CPS, Villegas said her school, i beg your pardon enrolls 430 students, has actually two custodians for 3 floors. Aramark’s contract call for three janitors. She claimed she has had actually to pick and choose i m sorry bathrooms obtain toilet document because not enough is supplied — and also in plenty of cases, she has dipped into her very own wallet to to fill the gaps. She no have sufficient cleaner to remove the urine smell on the toilet floors.

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SEIU regional 1 custodian Juwanda Harris speaks at a press conference outside of elafilador.net Public schools headquarters demanding accountability for Aramark and also CPS after failure to keep schools clean and also safe. Brian Rich/Sun-Times

No mops, towels or gloves

JuWanda Harris works at Bennett elementary school in Roseland on the far South Side, where she said she there is no been given basics prefer mops, towels and also gloves.

This autumn Harris took two weeks turn off to treatment for her boy who was sick, and also when she came earlier it was clear a substitute custodian hadn’t been sent in her place. A teacher pulled she aside come let her know students had seen cockroaches and a mouse run across the great floor.

“I can’t believe our students and also teachers are going v this in a pandemic,” Harris said, calling the conditions “unacceptable.”

Bennett has three custodians — one throughout the day and two in the night — yet would most likely need 5 to be fully staffed, she said. One of the three works part-time, according to Aramark’s contract.

Donald McPherson, a custodian at King High School because 2009, said the equipment he uses to clean floors no work, leave the custodians to mop the 310,545-square-foot structure in Kenwood. Meanwhile, McPherson isn’t obtaining paid top top time, the said: “It’s taking over a month to salary you.” The institution is claimed to have actually 10 custodians, but McPherson said it’s quick four.

“Over my 10 years, it has actually never to be this bad,” he said. “We together custodians work tough for the youngsters in the schools to have actually a great place come learn.”

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SEIU neighborhood 1 custodian Donald McPherson speak at a push conference exterior of elafilador.net Public colleges headquarters demanding accountability for Aramark and also CPS after fail to keep institutions clean and safe. Brian Rich/Sun-Times Attention has returned to dirty schools over the past few weeks ~ CPS introduced a new facility administration system in ~ the begin of October that janitors said has actually caused more problems. In ~ Harris’ school, Sodexo remained in charge of cleaning until Oct. 1, when Aramark took over. Conditions have worsened in the time, she said.

Late last month, the elafilador.net Sun-Times documented conditions at a Southwest side elementary college that to be so poor teachers, staff, parents and also even children took the upon themselves to wield mops and vacuums to clean their discovering environment. College student reported see roaches in your classrooms and bathrooms, floors to be filthy and garbage piled up.

A few days after that report, CPS ousted its infrastructure chief, Clarence Carson, who was rental in 2018 as a direct an answer to filthy school conditions and tasked through correcting the problems.

That year, complaints and also Sun-Times reporting recorded the level of the filth in the city’s publicly schools. Janitors protested then, and the district compelled out its then-facilities chief.

“It’s like déjà vu,” said Genie Kastrup, executive vice president of SEIU local 1. “Our CPS custodians have actually sounded the alarm bells time and time again. The difference now is we room in the midst of a deadly pandemic. Our colleges are supposed to be safe havens because that our kids.”

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SEIU neighborhood 1 custodians protest external of elafilador.net Public colleges headquarters demanding accountability because that Aramark and CPS after failure to keep institutions clean and also safe. Brian Rich/Sun-Times In a survey performed by the union the 287 the its 1,542 CPS custodians, 55% claimed they can not use been provided with sufficient cleaning supplies, and 41% have actually used their own money to buy what lock need. Around 81% claimed short-staffing has actually increased your workload simply as nearly every one of them said it takes longer to clean since of COVID-19.

CPS spokesman Evan Moore claimed the district isn’t aware of any kind of custodial supply problems, and also that Aramark manages the workers and also supplies. The district verifies inventory during building audits, the said. Moore no respond to questions on even if it is the ar has considered measures such as withholding payment come ensure Aramark meets that is contract requirements.

Aramark representatives no respond to requests for comment.

The district has actually largely blamed the troubles on staffing shortages. In enhancement to the workers stood for by SEIU 1, the district directly employs around 800 janitors for a total of 2,300 currently working in schools.

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CPS has said it requirements to hire an additional 300 custodians to adequately clean schools. Union leaders on Wednesday claimed they believed the ar is short around 500.