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