University of Minnesota
Facilities Management

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Date: June 11, 2009

To: Facilities Management

From: Mike Berthelsen

Re: Campus Re-bid

As you know, the University is undergoing historic budget cuts. FM is reducing $10 million from its Operations and Maintenance budget. We have taken several steps to minimize layoffs by instituting a hiring pause and not replacing positions as people left, offering the RIO (Retirement Incentive Offer) program and providing a voluntary severance program. Taken together, these actions have saved us from laying 40 custodians off. FM began the year with 522 custodial positions; our new budget reality will force us down to 459 custodial positions. This means we will still need to reduce 23 more custodial positions to reach our budget. If FM receives Federal Stimulus dollars we may be able to continue to employ a number of custodians for a limited time.

With fewer positions, we won’t be able to do our work the way we’ve always done it. We need to be more efficient. Already we have invested in equipment like riding scrubbers which make the work less physically demanding and allow one person to cover more space; initiated our custodial closet project which stocks closets automatically and reduces the need to order and haul supplies; and have successfully piloted a project where customers take care of their own desk-side trash and recycling, allowing us to move from trashing offices 5 days a week to 1 day per week.

These and other efficiencies will give custodial staff more time in the field and allow them to focus on public spaces like building entrances and bathrooms. With fewer custodians, cleaning areas will be larger and custodians will perform fewer tasks within them. In addition, we also have the opportunity to address the wide differences between assignments. Our new model creates work assignments that are much more similar and consistent in scope and effort.

The overall budget reduction, modified service standards and our desire to provide more similar and consistent work assignments mean all of our cleaning areas will change. This will require a re-bid of the entire campus.

We asked the Labor Management Committee to help create a fair plan to transition from our current positions to the new one. Based on the Labor Management Committee’s recommendation, consultation with Union leadership and the vote of your union membership, re-bidding the entire campus will be done on a master seniority basis. The master seniority list can be viewed on-line at and will be posted in muster rooms. Here are some of the re-bidding details.

Where and when will the bidding happen?

All bidding will take place in Donhowe rooms 317/318.

  • Monday, 6/22: 12:00 pm - 11:45 pm
  • Tuesday, 6/23: 3:45 pm - 11:45 pm
  • Wednesday, 6/24: 3:45 pm - 11:45 pm
  • Thursday, 6/25: 3:45 pm - 11:45 pm
  • Friday, 6/26: 5:00 am – 12:00 pm

When do I bid?

A list with everyone’s bidding times will be posted on-line at and in muster rooms. Supervisors will also have a copy. Please check the list for your specific bid date and time.

How much time will I have to bid?

The new areas will be posted by June 11. You should take time to review the areas and have several options in case your first choice has already been taken. When it’s your time to bid, arrive at Donhowe early so you can check to see what positions are still open. Each teamster will have a five minute window in which to make their bid. A master tracking sheet will be maintained at 317 Donhowe. Updates will be posted outside the room for those waiting to bid. Updates will also be posted at least daily in FM’s muster rooms.

What if I can’t be there during my bid time?

If your plans conflict with your bid time (e.g. vacation, doctor’s appointment, etc.), then you will be allowed to fill out a proxy card which empowers another Teamster to bid for you. These cards must be signed and turned into your supervisor by June 17. A card was sent in the mail to the home of each B&G worker, along with this memo and details of the re-bidding process. Proxy cards are also available online at or from your supervisor.

If you encounter an unplanned issue (e.g. sick, transportation issues, etc.), then you will be allowed to call in your bid selection into 612.624.7039, within your designated bidding slot.

If you or your proxy fail to show up or do not make a selection within your five minute window, you waive the right to bid and will be assigned an area at management’s discretion.

Can I take a look at an area I’m interested in?

If you are interested in looking at a bid area, you will need to contact and coordinate that with your supervisor. We will be working the details out with Custodial Supervisors.

What if I’ve got other questions?

Please speak with your supervisor.


FM - Image - Headshot - Mike Berthelsen - STSS Wide - Berthelsen_Head.Shots_02202013_097

Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Mike Berthelsen created 'Mike's Memo' for the purpose of communicating important information to FM staff. Several times each month he will address current issues that affect the way FM does business.