News Story

Teachers Union HQ Contracted Out For Janitors, Opposes Same For Schools

Half of all Michigan school districts outsource custodial services

The Michigan Education Association has long opposed public school districts trying to lower their costs by contracting out for custodial services.

Yet even as it seeks to block school districts from saving money this way, the MEA continues to contract out its own janitorial services, as it has done for years.

According to the latest financial reports the union is required to file with the federal government, the MEA paid $57,588 to four private companies to take care of janitorial work. The latest report, called the LM-2, was released in late November, and it spells out the custodial costs.

In July 2018, the MEA website posted a story about a janitor at the Marquette public school district. Custodian Steve Croschere, the MEA wrote, had fought off challenges to have his position contracted out.

“His message: in-house employees give more bang for the buck,” the MEA wrote.

However, Croschere’s union does not carry unionized custodians on its headquarters' payroll.

And more and more school districts are using the same model by contracting out janitorial work.

According to an annual survey conducted by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy since 2001, 50.4% of all Michigan school districts were using privatized custodial services in 2019. In 2005, just 52 school districts privatized custodial services. By 2019, the number had increased to 271.

The survey contacted 539 districts. It found that this year 69.7% of Michigan school districts have contracted out at least one of their food, custodial or transportation services.

The MEA didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.