March 6, 2001 

Summary of Responses to Issues Raised by the WROC

1. Casual Workers: We agree that the number of casual workers employed in recent years is too high. We hope that by this summer most current full-time casual workers will be hired as regular employees on term or continuing appointments with full benefits coverage and that wage rates for remaining casual workers will be increased.

2. Outsourcing: Princeton has no plans to expand its current very limited use of outsourcing of custodial services. This limited use has been in 18 buildings, mostly at Forrestal and in former commercial properties on Alexander Street. No University employee has lost a job as a result of outsourcing; overall, the number of University janitorial positions has increased by 15 over the last two years.

3. Performance Reviews: The University believes that salary increases should be related to performance; those who do a better job should receive greater increases than those who perform at a more average level, just as those who meet the expectations of their positions should receive more than those who do not. All of the negotiated contracts with Princeton's unions provide for performance review; some employees receive a flat rate in addition to a merit component, while pay for others is based entirely on performance. In 2000, 78 percent of Dining Services staff were rated as meeting expectations or better and received salary increases of at least 3.25 percent; 17 percent of Dining Services staff received increases of 6.25 percent.

4. Wages: The question of appropriate wage levels deserves serious consideration. The University currently aims to pay at or above market rates in all job categories, from service workers to senior faculty. In recent years, we have made a special effort to improve Princeton's market position in staff groups that have been below market. A proposal to allocate even more funds to wages (and correspondingly less to other areas of the budget) usually would originate with the Priorities Committee, which includes students, faculty and staff. The Priorities Committee has been asked to consider this issue this spring.

5. Benefits: The University's overall cost of benefits is 25.6 percent of base pay. A recent third-party review found the University's overall package to be competitive, and highly competitive in some areas. Moreover, a number of changes have been made in recent years to make benefits more responsive to employees' needs. In addition, the University provides some benefits that are not offered by most employers, such as children's tuition assistance and generous pension, vacation and disability provisions.

6. Shift Changes: Eligible employees are paid overtime when they work more than five consecutive days. On the sixth consecutive day they receive time-and-a-half; on the seventh consecutive day they receive double-time. While some businesses operate on Monday-to-Friday schedules, the University operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and the overtime rules apply regardless of which days are worked. When weekend days are worked, as in Dining Services, efforts are made to follow a rotation that provides a three-day weekend off every third week and at least one weekend day off another third of the time. Any night-shift differentials are negotiated with the unions. In Building Services, discussions are currently under way about possibly bringing a significant number of janitors back to daytime schedules.


DRAFT - Feb. 13, 2001

WROC / Background for discussion

Princeton University takes very seriously the issues raised by the Workers' Rights Organizing Committee and is gathering information needed to address them. Discussions among administrators and with students have begun and will continue.

Wages and working conditions generally are negotiated by the University and five labor unions representing employees. As a result, policies and procedures vary and there are few simple answers to the questions identified by the students.

1) Outsourcing:

The students want to end janitorial outsourcing in the 18 buildings in which it is used, and want a guarantee that no outsourcing will take place in the future.

  • Outsourcing is done on a very limited basis and no employee has lost his or her job as a result.
  • There are no plans to expand the use of outsourcing beyond its limited use.
  • Since 1995, 12 positions have been eliminated because of outsourcing. Six University positions were outsourced at Prospect House in 1995, but dining services has been adding other positions steadily and the individuals did not lose their jobs. Two positions in Housing were outsourced at Palmer House in 1998. The housekeeper was employed by the new management company and the administrator retired. Four positions were eliminated as a result of the janitorial contract with Monarch Inc. and the affected employees were given on-campus assignments. (Note: The Palmer House employees were not union members; all others were members of the SEIU.)
  • A contract with Monarch Inc. was signed in 1999 to better manage janitorial services in 18 outlying buildings.
  • The limited janitorial outsourcing has not decreased janitorial employment at Princeton. Over the last two years, new buildings have added 21.5 janitorial positions. Four jobs were outsourced, and 2.5 positions were eliminated with the closure of some buildings on the Forrestal campus in 1999. As a result, there was a net gain of 15 janitorial jobs. (All of the employees in the outsourced and eliminated positions were given new jobs.)
  • Princeton signed a limited three-year contract for specific management and training services with Servicemaster. As part of that agreement, Jonathan Baer manages University building service employees, in an effort to build expertise and professionalism. Both Baer and a staff trainer are now on site at Princeton. These are the only positions covered by this contract. The Servicemaster contract also provides equipment and product. It does not cover any janitorial staff.
  • The Servicemaster situation is NOT analogous to the USC outsourcing described by the students. USC used Servicemaster to outsource janitorial employees. Princeton decided NOT to outsource the employees, but to build professionalism in the existing staff.

2) Casual workers:

The students want to pay casual workers the same wage as permanent workers, provide full health benefits, tell them at the end of the academic year whether they will have jobs in September, retroactively make all casual workers who have been on staff 12 months permanent workers, and make casual workers permanent when they have been on staff for more than three months.

  • Dining Services employs 23 full-time casual workers in the residential colleges and 12 full-time casual workers in Frist. (Full-time casual workers work 40 hours a week for 34 weeks.) This total of 35 full-time casual workers represents about 19 percent of the full-time workforce (There are 149 SEIU members.) It is still unclear how many casual workers are employed in other departments.
  • Casual workers are needed at Princeton to fill in for permanent employees who are off for disability or other leaves, to work on one-time projects or during periods of unusual needs, and to make up for the declining number of student workers.
  • The use of casual employees in Dining Services has been increasing, primarily because student employment has been decreasing. Student employment has dropped from 600 to 225 since 1993.
  • There are 14 part-time (less than 20 hours per week) casual workers in Dining Service. This does NOT include the 26 workers in event catering and concession stands.
  • HR policy generally recommends that casual employees working at least half-time should not be employed for longer than 5_ months. That is not an iron-clad rule, however, and there are some circumstances in which casual employees are needed for longer periods. Departments have been told to hire some casual workers as permanent employees when they have been working for particularly long times.
  • About 58 percent of full-time Dining Services workers were hired from the casual ranks.
  • Seven casual workers in Dining Services returned last September after the previous year.
  • Casual workers are advised at the end of the spring semester about permanent jobs for which they might apply over the summer and/or whether casual positions will be available for them in the fall.
  • Dining services added 40 new permanent positions this year and continues to evaluate how many additional positions should be added. These new positions reflect the addition of new facilities (Frist) and the significantly smaller number of student workers in dining services.
  • The University recognizes the importance of reviewing its policies and practices with regard to casual employees, and particularly its policies with regard to the provision of benefits.

3) Benefits:

The students want health-plan costs to be adjusted so that lower-paid employees pay less. They also want the university to provide full dental and vision coverage.

  • The University's overall cost of benefits for administrative and support staff groups is 25.6 percent of base pay. The cost paid by staff members varies according to the plan selected by the staff member, but in general, the University aims to pay 80-90 percent. The projected 2001 subsidy rate is 83.9 percent for employees who are not on an HMO plan, and 71 percent for those on an HMO plan. The HMO subsidy rate has increased from 58 percent in 1999.
  • A recent review by a third-party consultant found the University's overall benefits package to be competitive, and highly competitive in particular areas.
  • The University provides benefits that are not offered by most employers, such as children's tuition reimbursement (now $8,900 per child per year) and generous pension, vacation and disability provisions.
  • Changes are made in employee benefits to make them more responsive to staff members' needs.
  • In 1993, the tuition program for children of faculty and staff was broadened to include community colleges. Over the years, the program has been changed so that bi-weekly employees with five years of service can get the same maximum grant benefit as faculty and senior staff. The maximum amount of the tuition grant has been increased every year since FY 1994, from $7,000 to $8,900 this year. The average grant in FY 1999-2000 was $6,415. In FY 99-00, there were 108 tuition grants used by Princeton's 1,400 biweekly staff members (about 7.7 percent, assuming one grant per family).
  • The University has increased the number of scholarships for staff members using the U-NOW child-care program.
  • In 1995, health plans were added to provide additional choices, and the catastrophic plan was added as a safety net for employees who have coverage elsewhere. (See attachment for complete list of changes.)
  • Princeton Borough provides employer-paid vision and dental coverage in addition to health insurance. The University provides vision and dental coverage, but the costs are borne by the employees.

4) Shift changes:

The students want to increase the night-shift pay differential. They also call for a "return to paying overtime rates for Saturday and double-time for Sunday."

  • Because of the nature of its work, the University must be open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
  • Bi-weekly employees are paid overtime when they work more than eight hours a day or more than five consecutive days. On the sixth consecutive day, employees receive 1.5 percent of their standard pay. On the seventh day, they receive double-time pay.
  • The shift differentials are negotiated with the unions.
  • The University has never paid a premium for working a weekend day as part of a five-day week.
  • In Building Services, 45-50 percent of the staff now works a night or weekend shift, but the department intends to cut back on cleaning done at night. The supervisor estimates that about two-thirds of the janitors currently working night shifts will move back to traditional schedules, which will reduce the percentage of staff on odd shifts to about 25 percent.
  • In Dining Services, about 90 percent of the staff work a night or weekend shift. Many of these staff members are scheduled according to a three-week rotation. The rotation gives a staff member a three-day weekend off the first week, one weekend day off the second week and no weekend days off the third week.
  • In Grounds and Building Maintenance, SEIU staff members work traditional schedules. Nineteen non-union trades employees, or about 12 percent of the staff, work non-traditional shifts.

5) Wages:

The students want Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) to be standard and for Princeton wages to be at least comparable with those at local municipalities and schools. They believe Princeton's wage surveys of other employers are not prepared or used appropriately.

  • In setting salaries, Princeton measures itself against the overall market. This applies in all job categories, including faculty.
  • Pay-for-performance is a crucial component of the wage structure for all staff members. (See following section for additional information on pay-for performance issues.)
  • The University is not in a position to guarantee that wages for any one person or group will remain ahead of inflation. At times, increases have outpaced inflation. At other times, they have lagged behind. Wage agreements with the unions -- and increases for individual employees -- vary. Raises for SEIU members have outpaced inflation three of the last nine years, equaled inflation growth twice, and lagged behind four times. Wage increases for library assistants (AFSCME) have outpaced inflation outpaced every year, sometimes significantly, as the University aimed to bring salaries to the appropriate level.
  • In determining the overall University wage pool each year, HR considers the inflation rate as well as budgetary concerns and particular problems that must be addressed (for example, groups that have fallen behind the market and must be brought up). COLAs alone are not used for any staff group.
  • Princeton aims to pay 95-105 percent of the average relevant market rate. For maintenance and service positions (SEIU), Princeton's average pay has been higher than the local market average for more than seven years, although it is being brought closer to the market average. In FY 1994 Princeton was at 110 percent of the local market. In FY 01, it stands at 102 percent. Meanwhile, Princeton has been improving its market position in staff groups that have been below market.
  • Union representatives participate in joint labor-management groups that determine which employers and jobs will be included in the wage survey. For trades, maintenance and food-service positions (SEIU), these employers were surveyed: Princeton Borough, Carrier Clinic, the Institute for Advanced Study, Mariott Corporation, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Rutgers University and Sarnoff Corporation. In many cases, however, these companies did not have matching positions so comparisons were impossible. (See survey data.)
  • Employee input is taken seriously. For example, the most recent survey for library employees was expanded to include Harvard, Columbia, Cornell and other institutions outside the region. (These results were then adjusted for geographic cost-of-living differences.)
  • According to HR figures, University janitors earn $24,377.60 ($11.72 per hour) and custodians earn $30,617.60 ($14.72 per hour). Princeton Borough has only two custodians, who earn $29,140 and $35,603, and the borough has a merit component. Custodians in the Princeton Regional School District earn $24,898 to $34,894. Note that it is unclear how job responsibilities line up, so these may not be appropriate comparisons.

6) Performance Reviews:

The students oppose the use of performance reviews in determining pay increases.

  • Pay-for-performance is governed by the negotiated labor contracts with Princeton's unions.
  • The pay-for-performance program aims to recognize superior performance by providing increases well beyond the salary-pool average, while still rewarding a central core of good performers.
  • Pay for all employees now includes a pay-for-performance component. Some employees receive a flat rate in addition to a merit component, while pay for others is based completely on performance.
  • In 2000, 78 percent of dining services staff were rated as "meeting expectations" or better and received a combined flat and merit increase of at least 3.25 percent. Seventeen percent of dining services staff received a combined increase of 6.25 percent, compared to a 3.3 percent inflation rate.
  • In 2000, 73.4 percent of building services staff were rated as "meeting expectations" or better and received at least a 3.25 percent guarantee/merit increase. More than 11 percent received a 6.25 percent increase.
  • In 2000, 74.1 percent of maintenance staff were rated as "meeting expectations" or better and received a 3.25 percent increase. About 16.1 percent received a 6.25 percent increase.
  • Pay-for-performance continues to be discussed at meetings of the labor-management groups in each labor area. In the contracts, the unions agreed to the amount of the merit pool and how pay-for-performance would be implemented.
  • Specifically, the unions help develop and agree to the standards governing merit-based raises. These vary in each labor area. For example, the FOP decided on a group-based performance program, so that performance targets would be met by the group and the raise pool distributed among group members. Other unions agreed to individual targets and raises.
  • The students suggest that workers are penalized when they take time off for family death or personal illness. The contracts provide time off for these purposes. Employees are not penalized for taking time for these events.
  • It is true that implementation has not been problem-free. Some problems were expected, and both the University and the unions are trying to work them out. Princeton holds itself accountable for correcting the problems. For example, the SEIU complained that some managers were not completing performance reviews as required. The University found that this was true, and in those areas, the employees got the agreed-upon merit pools across the board.
  • The performance reviews required as part of the pay-for-performance system have helped clarify what is expected of workers and managers, and helps employees set goals at the beginning of each year. Performance reviews were not mandatory until three years ago.
  • Implementation began in 1997 and continues as new contacts are signed. Training is continuing for managers and workers.
  • Merit-based increases are based on the previous year's performance. Evaluations in January-March result in increases beginning the following July. Because of timing issues related to when the contract was signed, SEIU members experienced a delay in receiving their increases. This was an anomaly and they have received the money due.


  • SEIU -- about 360 members (building services, dining services, part of maintenance group, groundkeepers, mailroom, building custodians)
  • AFSCME -- about 170 members (library support staff)
  • FOP -- 11 members (Public Safety / commissioned officers)
  • Federation of Police, Security and Corrections Officers -- 47 members (Public Safety / non-commissioned officers, Art Museum, library)
  • International Union of Operating Engineers -- 25