UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

OneSource Contract Expired, UMass Boston Requesting Offers

var uslide_show_id = “0a5fb3f3-bcc3-4954-9f1b-e60de3b1e1cb”;var slideshowwidth = “468”;var linktext = “”;

Service Employees International Union Local 615, of which UMass Boston janitorial staff OneSource is a member, held a march and rally on July 12 to support an updated contract. While OneSource, and their union counterparts, were able to garnish a better union contract, the company’s contract with UMass Boston expired on June 30, and the school is now submitting a Request for Proposals (RFP), a request for contractors to offer prices.

SEIU Local 615 was able to ratify a five-year contract with the state of Massachusetts on Aug. 31, with better health care, sick days, wages and more benefits.

“This contract, which is our strongest ever, will dramatically improves the lives of close to 12,000 workers,” Rocio Saenz, president of SEIU Local 615, said in a blog on the union’s Web site. “It will help move hardworking men and women out of poverty and into the middle class. Additionally, it will help create a system whereby workers are sharing in the gains that the real estate industry in New England has made in the past several years. It is an important step in creating a New England that works for everyone.”

While UMass Boston’s Facilities Management is submitting a new RFP, they temporarily extended the OneSource contract for time allowance.

“Our contract was extended to December,” Jose Mata, account manager for OneSource, said. “Negotiations are in December, but we’re not the only candidates. A lot of companies are going to come through to offer their services.”

It can become hard to keep track of, as both the union contract and the OneSource contract with the school expired around the same time. Dorothy Renaghan, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management, explained the difference between the two.

“It’s confusing, because they both happen to be happening at the same time,” Renaghan said. “OneSource is a member of the Maintenance Contractors of Massachusetts. That group is made up of a number of firms like OneSource. They, and SEI Local 615, were in contract negotiations because their contract was expiring August 31. And so, they were in a whole process to renegotiate the master contract. At the same time, the university’s contract with OneSource was to expire on June 30.”

Renaghan said that most service contracts are short term, ranging from three to five years, in order to reflect the reality of constant change within the university.

One reason Facilities decided to write a new RFP is because they wanted to be sure that the changes in the process of cleaning over the past five years were included.

“We decided to cancel the RFP because we realized that there were a number of changes that have been made in the whole way that cleaning is done in colleges and universities and we needed more specificity in how we wanted to have our cleaning done,” Renaghan said. “In addition, we had a number of restricted areas that we didn’t understand how we needed to have them cleaned. A number of the laboratories are keyed off so that you can’t get in. At the same time, the people within those laboratories need cleaning services.”

Facilities Management also wanted to be sure their proposal accurately represented the amount of university space in need of services.

“We also wanted to have better information about how many toilet rooms we have on campus, how many urinals, how many stalls, how many sinks, et cetera, so that we would give in an RFP the best information we could about what it is that we were looking for,” Renaghan said. “So, we renewed our contract with OneSource through December 31 of this year in order to give ourselves time in order to put together a better RFP that was clearer so that we would be able to get a good response of proposals back from whatever firms choose to propose.”

UMass Boston’s contracting practices are set by the state of Massachusetts to ensure fair and open competition? The RFP, which is still a work in progress , will be released in what Renaghan called a “very public way.”Whether or not OneSource comes back to UMass Boston after the RFP has gone out is up in the air, as it depends on who offers the right price to the school.

“I have no idea [if OneSource will be the company to offer the right bid],” Renaghan said. “What will happen is when the RFP is released, any contractor has the opportunity to provide a proposal and we are mandated to accept the lowest responsible proposers’ proposal and price. So, that may be OneSource or it may not be OneSource. We’ll just have to see when it comes in. We’ll analyze the proposals and see what happens.”