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Support for custodians at ETSU in Wednesday's Forum

Staff Report • Oct 15, 2013 at 9:50 AM

I wish to voice my support for keeping our custodial staff at East Tennessee State University. Over the many years that I have been on the faculty at ETSU, I have grown to appreciate the professional work they do and I have seen the loyalty they have for ETSU. They work long hours to maintain our buildings spotlessly clean. They present a friendly face and they are proud of the job they do. I frequently think of an instance in which a major waterline broke in one of our labs (of course at 4:30 in the afternoon). The entire custodial staff in the building joined together to stop the leak, clean up the water and clean the lab so it could be ready for class the following morning. When they were finished after about an hour of hard work, they apologized that they might not get the rest of their regular duties completed before classes started in the morning.From my perspective they are a professional group of individuals who are a credit to the university, and I suspect we would not get that kind of attitude and hard work from a third-party service. As a past departmental chair, I understand budget pressures, but the university, more than any institution, should value individuals and regard them as the resource they are. Contracting this service outside the university will be a loss for ETSU. JEFF G. WARDESKAJohnson CityWhat kind of choice is that?Concerning the outsourcing of custodial jobs at East Tennessee State University, I note that an ETSU spokesman says that many of the current custodians will be given the opportunity to take a job with the new company overseeing the work at the same pay (and presumably no benefits). What sort of opportunity is the choice of no benefits or no job? My faith tradition says that our lives will be evaluated by the way that we have cared for the least among us. ETSU is a community of many faiths and ethical beliefs, but I hope we can all agree that our custodians deserve fair pay and benefits.BONNY STANLEYJohnson City