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Hard Times Hit the Chronicle: Restrooms Cleaned Just Twice a Day, Unbleached Towels and Defrost Your Own Damn Refrigerators

The Houston Chronicle has been hit with the same rough economy as others in the print media. Sometimes that leads to layoffs.

Sometimes it leads to cutting back on the janitorial services. A new memo from management outlines the shocking hardships Chron staffers will now have to undergo in an effort to help Hearst's bottom line.

The memo:

Changes in Janitorial Services Effective Monday, November 14, 2011

In an effort to reduce expenses, there will be some changes to the janitorial services provided by GCA. Some of these changes will be seamless while others more apparent. Listed below are the most dramatic of the changes that will take effect on Monday, November 14 at all Houston Chronicle locations....

Refrigerators - GCA will no longer clean out or defrost refrigerators. If your department or an individual has a refrigerator, the department's employees or individual users are responsible for cleaning and maintaining it. As always, if the refrigerator is broken or needs service, a work order for repairs can be submitted to the Help Desk.

WHAT?!?!? What kind of heartless, slave-driving corporation demands that employees take care of their stuff in the refrigerator?

Frankly, we're more used to working in places that send out the occasional pleading memo that says something like "There's food that looks like science experiments, people -- PLEASE take care of it!!!!!!"

Chronicle Garage cleaning - Rather than the current daily cleaning of the parking garage, GCA will be cleaning the garage three times each week.

Paper products - Some of the paper products that are currently in use such as roll towels in the bathrooms will be replaced with unbleached towels. Also less expensive folded hand towels/napkins will be supplied to the kitchens.

801 Texas used to be such a classy place. The magic is gone.

Restroom cleaning - The frequency of service will now become twice a day for regularly staffed areas, once/day on floors that have a small number of employees. On the 5th floor and 4 North, GCA will continue to clean restrooms three times/day based on the large number of people working in these areas.

Meeting room set ups - GCA will no longer set up tables and chairs for meetings. They will not have adequate personal on site daily to perform janitorial services and set up meeting rooms throughout the day. Each department holding a meeting will be responsible for setting up and tearing down the room configuration...

If that last one results in fewer meetings, we're guessing reporters won't complain.

Full memo after the jump:   November 9, 2011

Changes in Janitorial Services Effective Monday, November 14, 2011

In an effort to reduce expenses, there will be some changes to the janitorial services provided by GCA. Some of these changes will be seamless while others more apparent. Listed below are the most dramatic of the changes that will take effect on Monday, November 14 at all Houston Chronicle locations. The priority for GCA is to clean the Houston Chronicle facilities and they will be staffed appropriately to do so. These changes will be closely monitored and if problems occur, staffing will be adjusted to insure the facilities are adequately serviced. Services affected: Refrigerators - GCA will no longer clean out or defrost refrigerators. If your department or an individual has a refrigerator, the department's employees or individual users are responsible for cleaning and maintaining it. As always, if the refrigerator is broken or needs service, a work order for repairs can be submitted to the Help Desk. Chronicle Garage cleaning - Rather than the current daily cleaning of the parking garage, GCA will be cleaning the garage three times each week. Paper products - Some of the paper products that are currently in use such as roll towels in the bathrooms will be replaced with unbleached towels. Also less expensive folded hand towels/napkins will be supplied to the kitchens. Restroom cleaning - The frequency of service will now become twice a day for regularly staffed areas, once/day on floors that have a small number of employees. On the 5th floor and 4 North, GCA will continue to clean restrooms three times/day based on the large number of people working in these areas. Meeting room set ups - GCA will no longer set up tables and chairs for meetings. They will not have adequate personal on site daily to perform janitorial services and set up meeting rooms throughout the day. Each department holding a meeting will be responsible for setting up and tearing down the room configuration. If a department is hosting a large meeting, arrangements may be made in advance with GCA and the department will be charged a set up fee. After each meeting, GCA will clean the meeting area based on their normal cleaning schedule for this particular area. Special requests such as large room set ups, will be handled by George Perez at ext. 7717. Due to manpower restraints, these requests must be made seven days prior to the event. If you have questions about the changes outlined above, please direct them to Russell Cureton at extension 7622.


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