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Student workers concerned about outsourcing transition

Published: Saturday, August 4, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 18:08

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Their badges still bear the Texas A&M logo, but Thursday was the last day Dining and Facilities Services workers were employed by the University. As of Friday the workers, some also students, officially work for Compass Group USA.

One student worker said he is concerned how Compass will work around class schedules.

"When I first hired on, I told [A&M] I was a student and they said they'd be willing to work around my schedule," Cliff Hart said. "I'm just not sure how willing Compass is going to be."

Hart said he was happy when he heard Compass announced there would be part-time benefits for anyone working more than 20 hours a week, but Hard said he was uncertain of all the details because employees haven't been fully briefed.

"It's going to be different, it's going to take some getting used to," Hart said.

One of the changes will be clocking in and out at the office for 30-minute lunch breaks, which workers say will take extra time. This differs from A&M's system where lunch breaks were deducted from paychecks.

Facilities services employees were allowed two 15-minute breaks in a shift; under Compass, these breaks have been reduced to 10-minutes each.

One of the issues employees are facing is making up for the recent reduction in staff, which has been partly due to early retirements since Dining and Facilities Services were outsourced.

"It's definitely understaffed. We've always had that problem, but not this bad," custodial services worker Robert Braun said. "We're less-staffed but have more to do than we did a month ago. I think the longer they can keep it like this and still be productive, they're going to cut corners."

Student workers said A&M was planning to add more employees to the ranks before facilities services was outsourced.

"If you look at the big picture the whole reason they're outsourcing is to save money, so money is going to be cut from somewhere no matter what," Hart said. "If we're getting a four percent raise — materials, number of employees, something is getting cut."

Hart said on-campus employers don't utilize students enough. He has a bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering technology, but said the best thing he could find on campus that would work around his schedule was custodial.

"Why don't you use student workers? If you're having such a hard time paying all these full time employees, look at this huge pot of temp employees right here," he said.

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