University custodians reflect on wages and responsibilities

Custodian Patty Zucker cleans the windows of the John G. Kulhavi Events Center on Dec. 11.

Central Michigan University’s custodial staff aims to provide friendly faces amidst their responsibilities.

Custodial staff vacuum and dust residence halls, kitchenettes and lobbies while residents are present in the fall and spring semester, and clean, mop and wax the floors of the halls in the summertime. 

“We have a good team here at CMU that helps make sure the work gets done,” said Mt. Pleasant Building Service Supervisor Donna Haggart.

Custodial staff is used throughout all university buildings. 20-year Mt. Pleasant custodian Patty Zuker has worked for the university for 39 years. 

“(My responsibilities include) cleaning floors and offices. The responsibilities that come with that are endless; dust, remove trash, take care of recycling, sweep, mop, vacuum and (clean) bathrooms,” Zuker said. 

She and other custodial staff consider good customer service and relations with residents and guests  their top priority. Despite the years working for the university, the custodians were recently released from locked wages after the custodial union spoke to the university.

“I went from 20 dollars an hour (working as a custodian) from the state of Michigan to $9.50. It was a huge drop," said seven-year Weidman custodian Christine Yuncker.  "We’re just now getting our raises. Now we’re up to $10.90 (an hour).”

Although CMU custodians are just now receiving raises for their work and tasks are often challenging, Yuncker said she is proud of what she does and enjoys interacting with residents and guests at CMU.

“I love my work. The best part about it is stripping and waxing the floors because you see what you’ve done. You’ve got a sense of accomplishment and it’s gratifying,” Yuncker said. 

The custodial staff works in teams to divide cleaning of the centers and offices at CMU as well as floors and rooms in residential living to conquer their tasks. 

Zuker said residents and guests can make the custodial staff’s job run smoother by simply picking up after themselves, taking care of their business the best they can and being mindful. 

"The environment that I work in is an excellent environment,” Zuker said. “It’s not just the task at hand, it’s being able to do a good job and the outcome of something going not clean to clean (gives me) a sense of pride.”