PPS Lowballs Rehired Custodians

by Steve, October 15th, 2007

After being forced to rehire the custodians they illegally fired, Portland Public Schools has decided to try to cut their pay by nearly 30%.

In negotiations for a contract that expired June 30, PPS proposes reducing starting wages from $14 an hour to $10.70 and forcing employees to absorb future increases in health care costs. This is especially insulting, since many of the rehired custodians left other jobs to return to PPS based on the current wages.

This is an obvious pattern in PPS labor negotiations.

At the school board meeting last week, Linda Hush-Loomis, the wife of a PPS custodian, testified “My husband left a job paying nearly $13 per hour, the cut would leave him around $11 per hour.”

PPS just approved a bond to payoff the approximately $15 million settlement with the illegally fired custodians. Now they’re using the same tactics that eventually led to the illegal firings in the first place. Does PPS have no institutional memory? Or are they just ethically bankrupt?

There is a petition (32KB Microsoft Word document) available to print and gather signatures if you want to show your support of these hard-working, under-appreciated employees.

12 Responses to “PPS Lowballs Rehired Custodians”

  1. Comment from Shocked:

    My goodness. Beaverton School District’s starting wage for bus drivers is way more than PPS is proposing for its custodial staff.

    I say immediately boot out every board member that supports this.

    This is sick.

  2. Comment from Zarwen:


    You forgot to mention that last spring, there was talk of privatizing the cafeteria workers, who belong to the same union as these custodians that have been (and are still being) screwed over. I don’t know whether the idea is still under consideration, but maybe it will help answer the question about “no institutional memory” vs. “ethically bankrupt.”

    Personally, I think it’s both!

  3. Comment from TOUGHLOVE$$:

    and you all wonder why we cant pay teacher?
    $14.00 per hour to start for un-skilled labor?
    not all public jobs are not and can not be expected to provide a living wage! join the whole world!

  4. Comment from Zarwen:

    Then how come Beaverton is able to do it? (See “Shocked’s” comment, above)

  5. Comment from not surprised:

    $14/hr is much less than the district’s paying per hour for private contractors who aren’t held accountable & don’t have proper background checks. also i don’t understand why PPS kept all of custodial management when they privatized. if PPS really wanted to save money, they could cut the PR department, which didn’t even exist before measure 5. considering the public’s opinion, i’d say they aren’t earning their $.a state audit is desperately needed for public confidence.

  6. Comment from Zarwen:

    Then again, this may be just a strategic move to avoid giving the custodians any kind of raise. When it comes to contract bargaining, there is nothing unusual about making outrageous demands at the beginning so that the final agreement will look “reasonable.” As with most of life, it’s all about gamesmanship.

  7. Comment from We are not Houston:

    support petitions can be sent to:

    PPS Custodians and Food Service Workers
    6401 SE Foster Rd.
    Portland, OR 97206


  8. Comment from marcia:

    I like your moniker, We are not Houston. Good one.

  9. Comment from Lynn Schore and Steve Linder:

    Here is a link to sign an on-line SEIU petition to support our PPS workers:


  10. Comment from Lynn Schore and Steve Linder:

    Here’s a link to a 10/17/07 Willamette Week article by Beth Slovic, “Cleaning Up: PPS is Mopping the Floor With Its Custodians”:


  11. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    Anne T. just posted on this over on my blog:


  12. Comment from k.c. workinguy:

    PPS Custodians Rally Against 30% Pay Cut ! ! !

    This Monday November 19th 6:00 PM

    BESC Building 501 N. Dixon (Just North of the Rose Garden/Memorial Coliseum)

    Come Join Us In Supporting Portland Public Schools Custodians and Nutrition Services Workers in Their Struggle to Win A Fair Contract ! ! !

    Come Let The PPS Board Members Know That People Care About Clean , Safe , Well Maintained and Operational Schools . . . and that PPS Workers Deserve Decent Wages, Benefits and Working Conditions ! ! !