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Dear Members of the Tufts Community:

The custodial workers employed by DTZ, our outside janitorial contractor, provide important services on all three of our campuses.  We value their contributions in maintaining the cleanliness of our classrooms, labs, residences and offices.

All our contracted services are regularly reviewed to ensure that we are using Tufts’ resources as effectively as possible, in ways that are consistent with industry best practices for both efficiency and sustainability.
The custodial services provided by DTZ represent a large financial commitment for Tufts—currently about
$10 million a year.  We have recently signed a new five-year contract with DTZ. That agreement reflects our commitment to control costs, maximize resources to support our core academic mission and support our sustainability goals.  The new contract also seeks to increase the number of full time, benefits-eligible custodians working at Tufts.  Relations between DTZ and its custodial employees will continue to be governed by its contract with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

There are several goals that Tufts is seeking to achieve in the new contract:

Increasing the number of full-time custodians.  Both Tufts and DTZ agree that this should be a top priority. The Tufts contract with DTZ sets a goal of 75% full-time employees.  Approximately 60% of the janitors now at Tufts are full-time.  We are committed to working with DTZ to move closer to the contract goals.

Encouraging “green” behaviors.  Today custodians visit every office every day, often doing little more than replacing plastic liners in almost empty wastebaskets.  This contributes to the waste stream and is also expensive.  In the future, custodians will visit most offices once a week.  (Cleaning schedules will not change for clinical and research spaces or on-campus residences.)  We will be asking our community to help by disposing of food waste daily in common area receptacles and to place all recyclable items in individual office bins or in a central recycling station.  At other colleges and universities, this change has had important sustainability benefits by decreasing the overall waste stream and improving recycling rates.

Improving custodial operations efficiency.  Comparative analysis has demonstrated that custodial workers have not been deployed as efficiently at Tufts as at other educational institutions:  the current average here is significantly below the standard for educational facilities.  DTZ is now assessing how to assign workers more effectively to use our resources more efficiently—looking, in particular, at services in offices.  We do not expect service levels in on-campus housing to be affected.  Over the next five years, DTZ will seek to enhance efficiency in a gradual, careful way.

The contract calls on DTZ to prepare a plan to support these objectives on all three campuses.  Before changes are implemented at Tufts, DTZ will be reviewing its plans with the SEIU as required by its union contract.  When we eventually have an actionable plan, DTZ will put forth its best efforts to ensure that custodians whose positions at Tufts are adversely affected by the moves toward more full-time workers or increased efficiency will receive full consideration for other openings within DTZ.  We do not expect significant changes until the spring of 2015 and will keep our community informed as the process moves forward.


Patricia Campbell, Executive Vice President

Linda Snyder, Vice President for Operations