Replacement work options are inadequate, union and TLC say


As Tufts’ custodial staff face an uncertain future after layoffs began two weeks ago, their one amelioration — DTZ offering alternative work opportunities at other metro Boston facilities — may be an inadequate solution.

In the university’s recent update to the Tufts community on custodial services, Patricia Campbell and Linda Snyder wrote:

DTZ has committed to offering alternative employment opportunities in metro Boston for affected custodians as well as providing extended transition periods and training as needed.

This assurance, which has been offered throughout the negotiations, is being challenged by Tufts Labor Coalition activists and representatives from SEIU, the union to which the janitors belong.

According to a SEIU union representative, who was not permitted to speak publicly, the kinds of positions DTZ is offering laid-off janitors are not equivalent opportunities to their current work.

The representative, who has first-hand knowledge of the available jobs, said there are 38 offerings which have the following breakdown:

  • 31 of the 38 jobs are temporary (i.e. positions for only the summer months)
  • 6 of the 38 jobs are permanent but part-time
  • 1 of the 38 jobs is a permanent, full-time position

Tufts Labor Coalition organizer, Nicole Joseph, confirmed that the job offerings are inadequate, citing many positions offer no benefits and some are far away and difficult to access by public transportation.

Neither the union nor TLC could confirm how many janitors, who are facing layoffs, are full time workers compared to part time.

DTZ could not be reached for comment despite repeated phone calls and emails to several members of their communications team. Tufts University declined to comment.

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