BSWs expect to work in teams of three

Analicia Haynes, Administration Editor

The building service workers in facilities planning and management and housing and dining are undergoing a trial system to see how the academic buildings and residence halls will be taken care of once the layoffs are put into effect March 12.

The most recent implication, as a result of the trial, is the removal of trashcans from the classrooms and placing them in the hallways of the academic buildings.

Timothy Zimmer, the director of facilities planning and management, called it a trial because it is still on the table and nothing is set in stone.

“Right now we’re looking at different ways to save money and maximize amount of staff and resources,” Zimmer said.

The trial was created because of the lack of a state appropriation resulting from the eight-month long budget impasse.

Mark Hudson, the director of housing and dining, said since BSWs in the academic areas were paid using state appropriated money, the decision was made to cut positions in those areas in order to save money the university had not yet received from the state.

Hudson said there were 104 total BSWs on campus at the beginning of the school year.

Now that the number has decreased to the 75 range and many positions were eliminated, facilities will have to reconfigure the jobs.

Hudson said there were no layoffs in dining and the positions in the residence halls were not cut because students paid for that service with their room and board fees.

Hudson said they wanted to make sure living environments stay clean for both the students’ satisfaction and basic sanitation.

However once the positions on the facilities side were cut a system of bumping took place where people with the least amount of seniority were the ones who lost their jobs.

Hudson said it turned out that there were more employees with the lowest amount seniority in housing and as a result there were more people being bumped out of housing jobs.

“The last person hired is the first person laid off,” Hudson said.

Hudson said the reason they had to reduce the number of employees was because the university had to make payroll and without the appropriation they can only afford a certain number.

“What we’re doing is downsizing and having come up with strategies to do our very best and cover as much as we can,” Hudson said. “No one wants to but we have to.”

Hudson said the question now is how can facilities reassign people to cover the areas where layoffs were prominent.

“Say there were 100 BSWs all together and the facility side cut 25 positions,” Hudson said. “In order to cover their areas they (facilities) will have to rework a system.”

That’s where the trial comes into play and Zimmer and Hudson said there are five teams of three BSWs who are assigned to cover a particular zone or set of buildings and are given several priorities and responsibilities that they have to accomplish.

“Three people will be responsible for like three buildings and get through those buildings as fast as they can to cover as much as they can,” Hudson said.

Hudson said several priorities also include making sure the bathrooms are cleaned as often as possible as well as hallways, entranceways and classrooms.

Zimmer said a concern was to make sure the garbage was empty in order to avoid different things, such as insects that feed off of old trash, from growing.

Hudson said the garbage cans out in the halls are the kinds of strategies that they are using to see if students can help out as well.

“So if there are centralized garbage cans in the hallway and if students were cooperative and throw their stuff in there then that’s more efficient than going to every room and having to pick up the trash cans,” Hudson said.

Hudson said several priorities also include making sure the bathrooms are cleaned as often as possible as well as hallways, entranceways and classrooms.

“We hope our students will help us be as efficient as we can and everyone needs to work together to keep our campus looking good,” Hudson said.

Zimmer said instead of trying it after the layoffs take place, now was the best time to see if the system works because everybody is still here and it reduces the affect on the education experience if it does not work.

“It’s going to be tough,” Zimmer said. “Until we get the appropriation, it’s going to be tough.”

The trial is still on the table and Zimmer said they are still communicating with the eight unions that represent the civil service workers to ensure members are treated fairly.

Hudson called the process “impact bargaining” and said they are trying to figure out how the employees with seniority will be able to choose where they want to work after the layoffs take place.

“It will be a huge challenge,” Hudson said. “These buildings are big and they’re just going to do the best they can.”

Hudson said one of the topics being discussed with the unions along with seniority rights is whether or not the BSWs left in the residence halls will remain on the same floor they have been working on.

“The reason that the president decided to allow us to keep the positions in housing and dining is because they recognize the importance of that level of service in order to keep students on campus,” Hudson said.

Hudson said one of the important relationships that students have is between them and their BSW and he is hoping they can keep as many as possible on those same floors for the rest of the school year.

Hudson said they will be announcing how the bumping process will occur and if the trial will remain next week.

“We need to wrap it up before then because we need to have time to inform people on how we’re going to do it,” Hudson said.


Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]