Custodial Staff’s Letter to the Voice in ’21 Detailing Their Mistreatment

Letter received by the Voice in Feb. 2021 details the mistreatment of the custodial staff on Wooster’s campus.

 

Custodians at the College of Wooster used to be happy, used to love coming to work. All changed when the new management came and acted nice, promised nothing would change…all lies. Very two faced. Since the pandemic, our two bosses, Scott and Mike Taylor have not asked our opinion, our preference on work, nothing, but in the same breath they will say they appreciate us. Everyday we act like we’re fine, we’re ok, we have tried to say something many times, we feel unsafe, we feel uncomfortable, we don’t want to switch shifts or dorms. We have written to President Bolton but have gotten no response. We feel alone, unhappy and some of us even have panic attacks, and have to get on anxiety medicine. 

Before, we would get to pick a dorm to clean for the whole year and sometimes longer, which partner we wanted in our dorm, or if we prefer to work alone, we would be able to do so. That’s how it has always been. As soon as the new management came, we were told nothing would change. People have been doing this for 20+ years. Before we knew everything was changing, we would say we didn’t like it and Scot would say, “Oh it’s temporary or basically tough!” We are the ones doing the work. We know how to do it and they don’t care what we are doing. Some of us are so scared to say anything, we smile and say, “It’s fine, we don’t mind” but all of us talk throughout the day/week so we know how people feel. They told us that because of Covid they had to meet with the Health Department, or follow someone else’s guidelines so they had to have an outside cleaning company come in and clean when we were off. We thought they meant the 2nd shift since we work the first shift. Nope! Cleaning crew that does a terrible job by the way and was fired years ago by Smuckers in Orrville got put on 1st shift people on custodial 5am-1pm shift either got fired or was made to move to 7-3am shift. The 7pm-3am shift lost people. They pulled some 7-3am shift people to move to 2nd shift, 3pm-11pm and if people couldn’t change their lives like that, they were let go. Some were here for 10+ years! Common sense is 5pm-1am shift, no schedule changes and the same with the 7pm-3am shift. If the cleaning crew had to come in then put them on an evening shift. We are forced to move to different dorms. It used to be weekly then, bi-weekly now, we’ve been in the same for dorms three weeks now. We want to be in same dorm and be able to choose our partners. We are not children and we don’t need to be babysat. We said something to Mike and Scott about it. We didn’t want to move all the time and have different partners all the time. We didn’t feel safe and students would rather see the same custodians all year in their dorm. All they said was students need to grow up and that they didn’t need a mother figure. They said that everyone needs to get to know each other and train in dorms. They said that the college is safe and no one is getting COVID. Two weeks later, COVID started spreading on campus. We had warned them. Then, they continued to switch our shifts and custodians started getting sick.  Even if we had symptoms they made us come to work until our test results came in. If a student had COVID, they wouldn’t tell us what dorm so we could be extra careful. They said it was against privacy laws, but it is not. It is illegal to give the name of a person who has it, yes, but not where their dorm is. They switched to a cleaner which they said is effective against COVID but the ingredients were exactly what we were using before. Nowhere on bottle does it say that the cleaner kills COVID. They are getting cheaper, buying cheaper supplies, and saying that the budget is low even though they bought new trucks and vans. We were hired for certain jobs and certain hours and to mess a family up like that is horrible, but they [Scott and Mike] come in at times when it’s convenient for them. We do hard physical work while they sit in an office or drive in air conditioning. We use our own gas in our personal vehicle, sweat in the summer and they act as if they care. This is about power to them. They don’t care. We do not want to move dorms. If we wanted to meet people on other shifts, we would be a door greeter. We work hard cleaning, then a different group comes in and doesn’t care or doesn’t work like we do. It feels like it was all for nothing. Maintenance people are upset and have actually quit because of the changes to custodial staff. We have to pretend we are ok because they will have one of them tell us not to stand close together which makes no sense because he puts us in a building with different people, or we see them 2 or 2 other “bosses” in same truck together. They have put people down like we are just a body to them. They make comments like we are dumb like…“Oh it’s above her pay grade” or just talk to us like we are stupid. The 5-1 shift wants back to 5-1, 7-3 wants things back to normal. If there are people they know we don’t get along with, they put us with them. The people we like are our “work family.” We are never with them. We want to be happy to come to work again. It used to be so exciting to come to work. Now, we all wish we had different jobs.