• About
  • Press
  • Topics
  • Contact

Facilities, Cleanliness and Safety

Your right to clean schools

Articles 14-1, 14-2, 44-3, 44-4 and 44-5 of the CTU-CPS contract specify that members should not have to clean their own rooms and that they have a right to a clean and safe workplace. CTU has created this guide to help you enforce your right to a clean, safe, healthy work environment.

Since Chicago Public Schools subcontracted janitorial services to Aramark a few years ago, cleanliness has gone downhill in our buildings. CPS spends hundreds of millions of dollars on private custodial contracts and the vendors are not meeting their contractual obligations to ensure that every room in every school building is clean every day.

Members throughout the district have reported filthy, deplorable and unsanitary conditions in their schools. Classrooms are not swept daily, garbage isn’t being emptied, and desks and other surface areas are not being wiped down. Not only is this a ‘gross’ and disrespectful atmosphere for teaching and learning, but it’s leading to insect and rodent infestations in our classrooms which are a real health and safety hazard. The situation has gotten so obviously out of hand that one teacher addressed it in their class with an Inquiry Problem Set on Cleanliness. Feel free to make use of it.

Another widespread concern is bathrooms. Staff and student bathrooms are not cleaned. Toilets and sinks are often dirty; basic supplies such as soap, toilet paper, and towels are missing for extended periods of time. Often garbage is overflowing in the bathrooms. We cannot let these conditions go. We deserve better and so do our students.

The Union recently challenged this issue over school cleanliness at Simeon High School and prevailed. CPS initially tried to deny that members have a right to file these grievances, contending that the CTU was trying to grieve CPS’ right to outsource services. CTU filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB) who ruled that we are within our contractual rights to grieve over the lack of cleanliness in school buildings and the fact that CTU union members are not supposed to clean their own rooms. Despite the district’s objections, an arbitrator ruled in our favor and found that CPS had not been keeping the schools clean as our contract provides. As a remedy, the arbitrator required posting a cleaning tracking sheet for both custodians and teachers to mark to ensure that cleaning is taking place. This situation shows the importance of school-level safety committees and the Professional Problems Committee in resolving workplace issues.

WE CAN WIN OUR FIGHT TO HAVE CLEAN SCHOOLS WITH YOUR HELP!

What We Want

  1. Sufficient staffing to properly clean each school every day
  2. Substitute custodians to cover absences
  3. Toilet paper, hand soap and paper towels in each bathroom every day
  4. Proper management and oversight of the custodial staff
  5. Full compliance with the contractual promises for clean schools

What We Need from YOU

  1. Document that cleaning is not happening.
  2. Keep a log/google spreadsheet of the date and time that unsanitary conditions are present.
  3. Enlist the help of parents.
  4. Report this regularly at the PPC, Safety Committee, and LSC meetings.
  5. Document that this issue has been raised at the PPC/Safety Committee (i.e., agenda item, meeting minutes, photographs).
  6. File grievances! We need to FLOOD CPS with these grievances to show how pervasive this issue is!
  7. Use the Direct Reporting Form on Cleanliness to send messages directly to Aramark and CPS Facilities managers.
  8. Call, e-mail or tweet Aramark: K. Stewart McKinney, (312) 822-7119; mckinney-stewart@aramark.com; @aramark (twitter). Tag @ctulocal1 in your tweets.
  9. Call, e-mail or tweet Sodexo: Paul Tebo, (515) 422-1124; Paul.Tebo@sodexo.com; @sodexoUSA (twitter). Tag @ctulocal1 in your tweets.
  10. Call or fax OSHA: (800) 321-OSHA; Tel: (312) 353-2220; Fax: (312) 353-7774; file Online OSHA Complaint.
  11. Call or fax the Dept. of Labor and file a Health & Safety Violation: Tel: (312) 793-7308; Fax: (312) 793-2081.
  12. Use the Cleanliness Organizing Form to coordinate with CTU staff.

Aramark compliance

Aramark and Sodexo have committed to comply with the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) Level 2 standards for cleanliness, which means:

  • Floors and base moldings shine and/or are bright and clean. There is no buildup in corners or along walls, but there can be up to 2 days’ worth of dust, dirt, stains or streaks
  • All vertical and horizontal surfaces are clean, but marks, dust, smudges, and fingerprints are noticeable upon close observation. Lights all work and fixtures are clean.
  • Washroom and shower fixtures and tile gleam and are odor-free. Supplies are adequate.
  • Trash containers and pencil sharpeners hold only daily waste, are clean and odor-free.

In order to comply with this, they have agreed to the following cleaning schedule:

Cleaning Frequency

Frequency Color Code

CLEAN DAILY

CLEAN 4× PER WEEK

CLEAN 3× PER WEEK

CLEAN 1× PER WEEK

N/A

Frequency of cleaning activity by area

This table has 12 columns. If all are not visible, swipe or scroll right. The farthest right column is headed “Pick up loose trash.” There is a horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the table.

Area

Sanitize/ disinfect

Spot clean

Dust

Wet Clean
horizontal

Empty and
clean waste

Dry mop floors

Spot clean floors

Damp mop floors

Vacuum carpets

Burnish floors

Pick up loose trash

Classrooms

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Chalkboards/Whiteboards

Offices

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Entrances

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Laboratories

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Art Rooms

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Library

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Auditorium

DAILY

DAILY

Stage

DAILY

DAILY

Music Rooms

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Drinking Fountains

DAILY

DAILY

Wrestling Room

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Kitchen

Stairways

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Corridors

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Cafeteria

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Cafeteria Tables

Cafeteria Chairs

Restrooms

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Locker Rooms and Showers

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Gymnasium

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

Gymnasium Bleachers

DAILY

DAILY

Shop Area

DAILY

Use the table above and the definition of APPA Level 2 cleanliness and document any lack of compliance with photos and a tracksheet.

Frequent Violations

  • Loose trash is to be picked up DAILY. When you see candy wrappers lying around in the hallway for multiple days, this is a contract violation!
  • Carpets are to be vacuumed DAILY. In most schools, this rarely happens.
  • Floors are to be wet-mopped WEEKLY. Restrooms are to be sanitized DAILY and should be ODOR FREE.
  • Gym floors are to be dry mopped DAILY and wet mopped WEEKLY.

WE KNOW THIS IS NOT HAPPENING
BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP TO PROVE IT!

Follow These Examples

Here is a sample tracksheet that you can set up in a google doc for everyone in your building to contribute to every time there is a contract violation. This tracksheet was used by a school that filed a grievance and secured an additional custodian position! Make sure you Include the date, the location and the details.

DATE AREA CONCERNS/COMMENTS
10/20/2021 Teacher bathroom near library Toilet paper/paper towels are not refilled consistently – toilet/floor/sink/mirror does not get washed consistently.
10/20/2021 Library The library shelves have not been dusted all year by custodians.
10/20/2021 Many classrooms Long stretches of no mopping (4 weeks)
10/20/2021 Teacher bathroom near 214/Counselor Office Paper towels consistently not refilled – likely not being cleaned thoroughly?
10/20/2021 Boiler room, behind cage in hallway on 1st floor Student reported seeing a mouse
10/20/2021 Teacher bathroom, 3rd floor across from 311 No soap dispenser
10/20/2021 Student boys bathroom by library No paper towels for 3 days; ants collecting around trash can
10/20/2021 Teacher bathroom near dance room No paper towels for 1 week
10/20/2021 Room 214 Recycling bin not emptied for 2 days
10/20/2021 Room 214 Classroom carpets are being poorly vacuumed – there are food crumbs still on it every morning
10/20/2021 Room 214 Classroom floors unswept for days at a time – food, playdough, paper scraps remain for days
10/21/2021 Girls bathroom across from 304 Soap has been out for past 2 days and saop and paper towels aren’t consistently refilled when out
10/19/2021 Room 215 Recycling bin not emptied for 2 days
10/19/2021 Room 215 Classroom carpets are being poorly vacuumed

Here is a sample photo. Try to take decent enough photos that can be e-mailed. Note the date, time and location of the violation. In this case, the member swept the stairs herself and this is a photo of all the dust she was able to sweep up in one day.