Students see them emptying trashcans teeming with garbage, mopping white-tiled floors and scrubbing bathroom countertops. But most Knights are unaware of how much UCF’s janitors are paid for their efforts.
“My pay correlates to the work I do in a marginal way,” said Dave, who has worked as a UCF custodian for the past eight years. “But UCF pays more than most public schools.”
Dave worked the third shift at the Recreation and Wellness Center for two years before transferring to UCF’s Housekeeping and Recycling Department. With children of his own to care for, Dave said he has found it difficult to get ahead with an annual salary of $23,274.
To keep a little extra cash in his pocket, he bikes to work each day. If Dave chose to pay for an annual UCF parking pass, $20 would be taken out of his paycheck each month until the $200 parking fee was paid.
“Any raise is minimalized with increases in parking every year,” Dave said.
For at least the last 20 years, janitorial employees at the Recreation and Wellness Center and Student Union have been paid 5 percent more than other UCF janitors.
Student Union Director Rick Falco said in addition to their standard responsibilities, the men and women who work at both of these centers are asked to complete other tasks.
“Because the Student Union is a conference center as well as food service facility, the custodial staff at the Student Union has historically been called upon to do additional duties that are outside of typical custodial duties,” Falco said. “These may include assisting with light maintenance duties, such as assisting with painting projects, and also non-traditional custodial duties such as using a ladder or lift to reach high ceiling locations for cleaning.”
Hospitality major Bianca Ungerman has worked directly with the janitorial staff in the Student Union for the past six months. Her position with Administration and Event Services has allowed her to see them at work firsthand.
“The Union is open very late, much later than the other buildings,” Ungerman said. “There’s a lot more for janitors to do than just cleaning and vacuuming.”
On July 1, janitors will receive a pay increase, according to UCF Human Resources. The new hourly rate for UCF’s 186 custodial workers will be upped from $9.82 to $11. Senior custodial workers, of which there are 24, will be paid $11.79 as opposed to $10.21. The 17 custodial supervisors will be given a $1.98 pay raise, boosting their hourly rate from $10.73 to $12.71. As for the senior custodial supervisor, he will be paid $1.58 more, upping his pay from $11.25 to $12.83.
At the moment, there are no custodial superintendents, but the three employees who fill those positions will be starting at $14.80 per hour instead of $13.22 per hour.
Rising sophomore Tatiana Thomas said making a living is difficult in this day and age, especially when one’s annual salary is below $25,000. A custodian’s job requirements should correlate to the pay they receive, she added.
“There’s value in what they’re doing. It may seem small, but it’s an important job,” Thomas said.
Editor’s note: The Central Florida Future omitted Dave's last name to protect his job security.
Shana Medel is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Email her at ShanaM@CentralFloridaFuture.com.