Whistleblower Custodial Crusader’s 3 Part “Deep Cuts” Report: Part 2 – Custodial Crusader Deep Cuts “School Site Teachers and Staff”


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Hello.  This is Custodial Crusader again.  In Part 1 of my Custodial Cuts Report, I discussed how the cuts to custodial services are affecting school sites and having disastrous consequences for students, parents, and staff members in general.

In Part 2 of this report, I will discuss in more detail how these cuts are really affecting those staff members employed by the San Diego Unified School District, including teachers, teacher’s aides, and the custodians themselves.  You will come to see how much Superintendent Cindy Martin, School Board President Richard Barrera, and School Board members Kevin Beiser, John Lee Evans, Michael McQuary, and Sharon Whitehurst-Payne DON’T REALLY CARE about anyone on school grounds from vulnerable students to their own vulnerable employees.  You will also come to see how hypocritical they are, especially under the leadership of their proclaimed “union person” president, while they screw their own employees out of their own union rights!

  • Teachers And Teacher’s Aides Are Suffering

  1. Teachers and teacher’s aides at school sites have told me that because of the custodial cuts, they often have to wait longer than usual to get the custodial services they need to do their own jobs effectively.  For example, they may need to have furniture and supplies delivered to their classrooms like extra desks if they get more students.  Or they may need heavy and cumbersome pieces of furniture moved that are taking up valuable space in their classrooms: space they desperately need for other things to make their jobs more effective like an area for teaching aids like portable whiteboards and projector stands.  However, when night custodial services are cut, often the night custodians are crunched for time and don’t have enough hours and minutes in their schedules for immediate furniture and supply delivery or removal.  Given the cuts, often the custodians don’t have enough time to even change fluorescent light bulbs right away leaving classrooms with insufficient lighting for some students making it difficult for them to read and learn.  Since at many school sites, the daytime custodial staff is doing the duties of the night custodians now due to the cuts, they often don’t have the time to immediately move furniture and supplies and change bulbs either.  Teachers and teacher’s aides work stressful jobs as it is with barely any time to perform their own duties.  Not having sufficient custodial resources due to the cuts only causes them more stress and more headaches!
  1. Teachers and teacher’s aides have enough to worry about regarding the state of their classrooms as it is. They don’t need to worry about all the filth and potential disease they and their students are being exposed to because their classrooms are now being cleaned only once a week due to the nighttime custodial cuts.  Especially if the daytime lead custodians, having to take on the night custodians’ duties now, are too pressed for time to come to classrooms in a timely manner to stock essential health items these classrooms run out of so teachers and their students can wash and sanitize their hands: essential health items like soap and toilet paper.  Most teachers and teacher’s aides are very caring and compassionate people who want what is best for their students and try their best to fulfill their responsibilities to them.  But how can they do so when they, fearing for their health and those of their students, have to spend a great deal of what little time, if any, they have left cleaning desks and other surfaces that custodians use to be able to clean on a more frequent basis.  I have spoken to teachers who have told me that due to the lack of custodial cleaning, they and their aides are doing duties that are NOT in their job descriptions and NOT their responsibility: like sweeping and vacuuming their rooms and cleaning desk tops!
  • Other School Employees Are Suffering

Again, as I stated above, due to the nighttime custodial cuts, at some school sites, the daytime lead custodial staff is now taking on the duties of the night custodians, such as cleaning classrooms.  Not only does this impact teachers and teacher’s aids negatively, it also negatively impacts other school employees such as nurses and food service workers.  Again daytime lead custodians, dealing with greater time crunches by having to perform the nighttime custodial duties as well, often have little if any time to immediately replace essential items classrooms run out of like paper towels and soap.

The same situation can happen when nurses experience their offices running out of essential health items they and their sick ill students need desperately and immediately: like toilet paper, paper towels, soap, hand sanitizer, recovery couch liners, toilet seat covers, etc.

The same thing can happen when food service workers experience their kitchens and cafeterias also running out of and in need of immediate replacement of a lot of the essential health items like paper towels, soap, etc.

  • The Daytime And Nighttime Custodial Staff Are Suffering As Well While The District Continues To Violate Their Union Rights

Both nighttime and daytime custodians, crew leaders, and daytime lead custodians (also known as BSS 1’s and 2’s) belong to a union called California School Employees Association (CSEA).  They are members of the bargaining unit known as Operation Support Services (OSS) 724.  They have a CSEA OSS 724 union contract that protects their rights: a contract that the District is presently violating DESPITE being under the watch of a School Board with a Board president, Richard Barrera, who has a history of being a labor organizer and is supposed to be pro-union!

  1. Union Contract Safety And Health Violations.

According to their union contract, custodians, crew leaders, and BSS 1’s and 2’s must work within a “safe and healthy work environment” according to Article 10-Safety Conditions of Employment, Section 1-Responsibility of the CSEA OSS 724 contract on page 57:

“The Association and the District agree that a safe and healthy work environment for all unit members is essential to conduct District operations efficiently and effectively.  All Parties agree to be aware of inherent workplace hazards and to comply with federal, state, and local law and district health and safety practices….

a.) Custodial Cuts Increase The Risk Of Workplace Injuries.

Hmmmm?  Safe and healthy work environment?   Well Cindy Martin, Richard  Barrera, Kevin Beiser, John Lee Evans, Michael McQuary, and Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, let me ask you this:


From BSS’ to crew leaders to daytime and nighttime custodians, custodial employees are having to rush and push their bodies past safe limits with less time to accomplish their huge number tasks in.  This is true for BSS’ and daytime custodians having less time to accomplish their own traditional tasks since they now have to take on nighttime custodial duties as well.  However, nighttime custodians and crew leaders BEAR THE BRUNT OF YOUR CUTS!  This is because YOU VOTED 5-0 to cut night custodians and night custodial cleaning hours at a huge number of District sites!

Working within a safe and healthy work environment MEANS working within safe limits: which means working at a safe, steady and comfortable pace!  However, leaving custodial staff with less time to complete a huge number of tasks can cause them to rush and overexert themselves.

For example, custodial staff members may try to dump all of their trash in less time by pushing more bags of trash on their carts than their bodies can safely allow.   They may also push vacuums or move mops with more repetitive frequency than their bodies can safely handle to clean floors faster.  Overexertion can increase the chances of developing musculoskeletal injuries, including repetitive stress injuries.

It can also increase the chances of dangerous workplace accidents happening since the custodial staff now have less time in their busy schedules to evaluate the safety of their tools and environment. 

For example, being rushed for time, they may not have enough time to spot safety problems with a ladder they are about to climb onto.

b.)  Custodial Cuts Increase The Risk Of Custodial Staff Being Injured Or Killed In Auto Accidents!

I am NOT kidding here!  Again, custodial cuts meant the creation of more split-site nighttime custodial positions.  Split-site custodians are only given, on average, 10 WHOLE MINUTES to commute from one school site to another during their 8-hour work shift.  (The District breaks the 10 minutes down by adding 5 minutes of commuting time to the custodian’s work schedule at the first work site and the other 5 commuting minutes to their schedule at the  second site.)

That’s it!  It doesn’t matter if these school sites are 5 miles apart or 20.

That’s all they are given and they are given this meager amount of time during the late afternoon hours when people are coming home from work and traffic is heavy!  For example, there is a split-site custodial position covering the Instructional Media Center (IMC) and Mira Mesa High School.  According to Mapquest, these 2 sites are 11.7 miles apart and one must use highways 163 and 1-15 to travel from one of those sites to the other!

Here is the link: Instructional Media Center (IMC) and Mira Mesa High School Travel

According to the Mapquest link, it takes 15 MINUTES to travel between these sites when traffic is LIGHT!  NEVER MIND WHEN IT’S HEAVY!  Again, split-site nighttime custodians are given ONLY 10 MINUTES to travel from one of their work sites to another in the LATE AFTERNOON WHEN TRAFFIC IS AT IT’S HEAVIEST!  It only stands to reason that having to travel moderate to large distances between school sites given so little time, especially on highways, increases the risk of custodians getting into traffic accidents where they can injure or kill themselves and perhaps others as well.  SO BY HAVING THESE CUTS AND GIVING SPLIT-SITE CUSTODIANS SO LITTLE TIME TO TRAVEL BETWEEEN THEIR WORK SITES IN HEAVY TRAFFIC, SUPERINTENDENT CINDY MARTIN, SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT (AND SO-CALLED “UNION GUY”) RICHARD BARRERA, AND SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS KEVIN BEISER, JOHN LEE EVANS, MICHAEL MCQUARY, AND SHARON WHITEHURST-PAYNE ARE NOT ONLY CREATING AN UNSAFE WORK ENVIRONMENT FOR THESE CUSTODIANS WHILE THEY ARE ON THE ROAD TRAVELING FROM SITE TO SITE, BUT THEY ARE ALSO ENDANGERING EVERYONE ELSE ON SAN DIEGO’S ROADS AND HIGHWAYS AS WELL!

c.)  Custodial Cuts Expose Custodians To Unhealthy And Unsanitary Working Conditions

In addition to quoting Article 10, Section 1 of the CSEA OSS 724 union contract, I want to quote Article 10, Section 3 of the contract on page 58 concerning Notification of Unsafe/Unhealthy Work Conditions:

“All unit members shall notify their supervisors of unsafe or unsanitary conditions at any district work location or in any district vehicle….” 

School custodial staff members are having to work in unsafe and unsanitary conditions for reasons beyond what is stated above and beyond just the recent regular custodial cuts.  As mentioned in Part 1 of my Custodial Cuts report, custodial coverage is still not being provided for Saturday School events at a large number of school sites.  As a result, when restrooms are used on Saturday during these events, the trash, food, garbage, litter, urine, and feces left inside are not being cleaned up until the following Monday by daytime custodial staff.

I learned of one large school site where a lack of Saturday School staffing was placing the daytime custodial staff at risk the following Mondays.  The daytime custodial staff described how restrooms had been used over the hot and humid weekends for Saturday School and other events.  They described how the heat and humidity inside these restrooms caused the feces, urine, and food to really decay and reek of horrible odors.  They described their fears when, the following Mondays, those hot and humid fumes hit their faces and skin as they opened those restroom doors to clean them inside.  They were concerned about the hot humid air alone from those restrooms containing diseases that they could be breathing in and could sink into their pores.  They were concerned about all the vermin all the two-days-old filth and waste in those restrooms were attracting and how that could increase their risk of contracting diseases like hepatitis and perhaps even worse.

  • Union Contract Seniority Violations.

The District further screwed the custodians by violating their seniority rights as   well.  According to Article 17-Layoff and Reemployment, Section 8-Displacement Rights, Part A on page 102 of the CSEA OSS 724 union contract:

“A.  A unit member in a position which has been eliminated or reduced shall be provided displacement rights in the following order: 

  1. The unit member shall be bumped into a vacant position or shall bump the least senior unit member in the same classification, whichever opportunity provides the highest number of hours per day and months per year. 
  1. When the vacancy and the least senior unit member’s hours and work year equal, the displaced unit member shall be bumped to the vacancy.”

With the custodial cuts, custodians with the lowest seniority were laid off leaving vacancies at many school sites.  According to Article 17 Section 8, Part A of the CSEA OSS 724 contract quoted above, custodians that were affected by the cuts with the highest seniority have the first choice of any vacant positions they may wish to transfer into.  Those with the next highest seniority have the next choice.  This process repeats itself until all vacant positions are filled.

Unfortunately, the District screwed up and mistakenly assigned many long-term custodians with less seniority then they really had.  When the custodians, and their CSEA union, demanded that the District correct their mistakes, the District stated it couldn’t presently do so.  Not only did the District refuse to respect the custodians’ union contract rights, but they refused to do so under the watch of Superintendent Cindy Martin and a School Board presided by, again, a so-called “union friendly” labor organizer, Richard Barrera! AGAIN, RICHARD BARRERA HAS MADE A CAREER OF BEING A LABOR ORGANIZER AND IS SUPPOSE TO BE “EXTREMELY UNION FRIENDLY” BY PROFESSION!  HUH? Instead, under Barrera’s HYPOCRITICAL leadership, Cindy Martin and the School Board showed their true colors by letting the District SLAP! these long-time hard-working custodians IN THE FACE by denying them their contract-protected transfer rights as a result!  CSEA filed a grievance against the District as a result.  But arrogant Cindy Martin and the School Board most likely COULD CARE LESS about this grievance because their past actions have shown that they truly DON’T CARE PERIOD about anyone who walks on District school grounds from students to parents to staff members to THE LAW ITSELF!

  • Right To A Printed Union Contract.

I came across the following Negotiations and Chapter Update link on the CSEA OSS 724 Facebook page stating that the District wants to do away with providing printed union contracts for OSS 724 members and instead have their union contract available online only:

Hmmmmm?  I wonder why the District doesn’t want OSS 724 members, including custodial staff, to have access to printed contract booklets anymore?  I am wondering if the District’s reasons for wanting contracts to be available online only could be for nefarious reasons having nothing to do with wanting to save paper and trees.  Working as a custodian for many years, I have met many other custodians who aren’t skilled using the internet and would have difficulty finding their union contract on the following District Labor Relations website:

OSS Contract Version CSEA Approved 11/10/2015

I am wondering if the District knows this as well and figures that if they eliminate printed contracts, they will hinder and eliminate many OSS 724 members’ ability to educate themselves about their union rights and their ability to fight back against the District when it violates their rights left and right.  Like I stated above, this is another example of the District trying to violate and take away OSS 724 members’ rights while again under the watch and command of a so-called “union friendly” School Board President, Richard Barrera. 

Speaking of this school board:

All 5 Board members, including Barrera himself, voted 5-0 to cut school custodial staff and increase nighttime split-site custodial positions despite the fact that doing so would lead to contract safety violations for those custodial staff. 

I have one thing to say to Cindy Martin, Richard Barrera, Johm Lee Evans, Kevin Beiser, Michael McQuary and Sharon Whitehurst-Payne:          



Coming up next: Part 3:

Whistleblower Custodial Crusader’s 3 Part “Deep Cuts” Report: Part 3 – Custodial Crusader Deep Cuts “STAND UP For Your Rights!”



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About District Deeds

Mr. Engle is a blogger dedicated to investigating the San Diego Unified School District. His blog, District Deeds, strives to create transparency to the "deeds" the SDUSD hides from the SDUSD Stakeholders - Students - Parents - Teachers - Administrators - Community Members

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