Janitor Cleaning Floor In Front Of Yellow Caution Wet Floor Sign

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have been under fire after inspectors reported rat infestations and "deplorable conditions" in 125 facilities earlier this month. In response, school officials will spend $7 million to hire 200 more custodians to clean up its dirty school problem.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, the move came two days before most of the school janitors’ union planned a strike vote.

Union leaders reached a new three-year contract with CPS that includes provisions to hire the janitors this summer to do deep cleanings of schools, according to the union, SEIU Local 1, the article said.

CPS said 100 of the new hires will remain in the fall. School officials also agreed to meet quarterly with the union to discuss school conditions.

School janitors have said they can’t keep up with cleaning the buildings because outside contractors Aramark and SodexoMAGIC cut too many janitorial positions since taking over in 2014. The union had asked for 500 more janitors to clean the schools.

CPS has since stepped into the recent negotiations between the union and the contractors. Records show CPS paid Aramark $61.3 million and SodexoMagic $28.5 million during the 2016-17 school year for services that include cleaning.

Members of the union representing the 1,700 privately employed janitors who clean the city’s public schools will meet Saturday to discuss the terms of the contract. An SEIU spokeswoman declined to reveal financial details of the tentative agreement to the Sun Times. CPS directly employs up to 825 additional janitors.

Read the full article here.