Outsourcing at Metro Public Schools

In the proposed budget, they’re going to “outsource” custodial work. There are two important passages in Garrison’s story that get to the heart of the matter:

Though the custodial positions would technically be eliminated, Register has stressed that currently employed custodians would have first dibs on the jobs provided by a contracted outfit.


“It’s not right that they’re taking our jobs and sourcing them out,” said Lucille Moore, head custodian at Isaiah T. Creswell Middle School. “It’s not fair that we’ll have to work for $7 to $8 an hour for an outside company.”

So, just to be clear, “outsourcing” means union-busting and cutting custodians’ pay (and probably benefits). (I know, in Tennessee, we’re all supposed to cheer for union-busting but their union jobs pay better than $8 an hour.) Register is promising that the same people who work at Metro Schools will continue to work there, just that they’ll work now for this private company who can save the city $5 million. And Register says that there will be even more people working at these jobs. And the city will save $5 million?

The same people working the same jobs, with even more co-workers, for that much less money?

I guess it’s easier to say “we outsourced these jobs” than it is to say “We’re reducing all custodial staff pay to $16,000 a year [assuming Moore is right about what they can expect to be paid].”

I love how we’ve seen over and over how it’s the people at the bottom rung of society’s ladder who are just supposed to move from neck deep in shit to nose-deep so that the folks standing above them don’t have to get their shoes dirty.

Edited to add: See Ross.

15 thoughts on “Outsourcing at Metro Public Schools

  1. Pingback: What Outsourcing Really Means : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  2. What do you expect? The Chamber of Commerce has bought Board of Education seats over the past several years. The plight of the working poor is not exactly at the top of their agenda. At the national level, the CoC has become an extremist organization.

  3. Bridgett,

    You are exactly right. More focus on schools and their needs.


    That is an excellent question. I note that it is one that Conservatives have been asking in regard to members of Congress and state legislatures who always oppose school choice, home schooling, vouchers and charters. Not that there isn’t a case to be made against those ideas, just that such arguments ring a bit hollow from those who have options other than public schools.

  4. All “outsourcing” means is that we’ve now foisted these duties off on some middleman whose profits must be accounted for somehow. And who do we stick it to in order for this “middle taker” (or if you prefer the French word, entrepreneur) to earn its profits? Why the already underpaid people in the lowly position no one really wants. Hey, who cares about them, right?

    Buck up, friends! Nashville will soon get its bazillion dollar Music City Center and I’m sure THEy will hire custodians.

  5. I wish I knew what a custodian at Metro made and, for sure, what they’d make through their new outsourced employer. I mean, what if everyone who worked for Metro had to take an x% pay cut?

    It’d never happen, and for good reason. We are masking an utter failure. A complete and utter failure.

    That’s what I hate worst about it. Maybe this is the only answer, but let’s not pretend like “outsourcing” is some good thing and that we’ll be saving money, woo hoo.

    What we’re doing is admitting that we can’t run our school system.

  6. Pingback: MNPS Public Hearing on Budget « A View from the Dugout

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