0 comment Friday, April 18, 2014 |
As a cost-cutting measure in these difficult financial times, my current place of employment has decided that it would be economical to outsource our custodial services to an independent contractor. Up until now, the custodial staff were employees of MegaResearchInstitute, where I would not be surprised to learn that they may have been paid slightly more than the industry standards, and where I know they received insurance coverage and a pension plan. MRI is letting them go so they can hire the services of another company whose employees work for slightly less. MRI won't be responsible for their benefits.The woman that cleans our lab in the evenings has emptied our trash cans and mopped our floors for the last 28 years. She's been taking care of the labs in this department as long as I've been alive. She had planned to work here another 2 years and then retire with the full pension plan. Now she'll have to settle with a partial. She says she'll be fine - she's been able to save some (I am so impressed by this as I've done a particularly poor job of the same on my student stipend), but she worries about some of her colleagues who have not been here so long. It's tough to get a job these days.She's always been quick to ask how things are going when we're working late at the bench, and she's been known to share a clandestine cookie from the secret lab stash after hours when no one's looking. She tells us that we work too hard, that we should go home and get some sleep. We agree with her, but tell her that she could say the same about herself. She brought my labmate flowers one Valentine's Day when labmate was feeling particularly lonely. She (and all her colleagues) will be missed.