On August 17th, 2020 the University of Toronto initiated a new contracting out plan by privatizing a significant portion of caretaking services. The University removed and transferred CUPE 3261 caretakers from 18 buildings at the St. George Campus, replacing them with two private companies to provide cleaning services. These companies employ low-paid workers with little to no benefits.
As a “Top 10” Employer and a premier public institution, most would expect U of T to provide good job opportunities alongside high-quality cleaning services, especially during COVID-19. Instead, U of T has decided they would rather save a few pennies than provide good jobs and high-quality cleaning.
Please contact the President of U of T Meric Gertler, VP of Operations and Real Estate Partnerships Scott Mabury, and VP of Human Resources and Equity Kelly Hannah-Moffat and ask them to do the right thing and end contracting out of cleaning services at U of T.
Which buildings are contracted out?
The University of Toronto has contracted out 18 buildings within “3 zones” on the St. George Campus. This does not include buildings already contracted out such as the Department of Law, Department of Music, Goldring Centre, Dentistry, Myhal Centre, and many others.
Zone 1 includes: 150 St. George Street (Max Gluskin House), 321 Bloor St. West (Rotman Commerce), 121 St. George Street (Centre for Industrial Relations), 158 St. George Street (School of Continuing Studies), and 105 St. George Street (Rotman School of Management).
Zone 2 includes: 140 St. George Street (Claude T. Bissell Building), 130 St. George Street (Robarts Library) 120 St. George Street (Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library), 21 Sussex Avenue (Sussex Court), 2 Sussex Avenue (Innis College) 655 Spadina Avenue (Fasken Martineau Building), 123 St. George Street (Transitional Year Program), 665-669 Spadina Avenue, 40 Sussex Avenue (Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education), and 4 Glen Morris Street (Studio Theatre).
Zone 3 includes: 252 Bloor Street West (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), 246 Bloor Street West (Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work), and 119 St. George Street (Woodsworth College).
Who have they contracted out to?
The cleaning services will be provided by two private companies: Best Service Pros and Ion Facilities Services.
Health and Safety
U of T has failed to provide adequate consultations with labour and student groups on campus. We have been working with other groups as part of a coalition by coordinating, sharing information, and providing updates. On August 24th, labour groups including CUPE 3261 held a townhall discussing the science behind COVID-19. It has become clear to us that U of T continues to use out-dated scientific research on COVID-19 in their reopening plan, such as by not taking into serious consideration presymptomatic and asymptomatic transmission, as well as airborne transmission.
Our hope is to ensure the University take into account the risks involved with allowing for any in-person classes at U of T. The risk of another outbreak is too high, and would put many of our members in serious risk.
We continue to encourage members follow health and safety procedures at work place, including ensuring you have adequate personal protective equipment, and to follow physical distancing when possible. COVID has been around for a while now, and we know many people are facing “pandemic fatigue.” Meanwhile, the reopening of most businesses has made it feel that we are almost back to normal. This is understandable, but the virus is still in full swing, so please do your best to keep everyone around you safe by following health and safety guidelines. And as always, if you do feel unsafe, you may carry a work refusal, and report any issues to your supervisor, manager, and union.