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Closed school buildings are leaving some contractors unemployed

Published: Mar. 31, 2020 at 7:00 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama students are going back to school on April 6, but some contractors who kept the school buildings running aren’t going back to work.

Gov. Kay Ivey’s closed school buildings for the remainder of the year, meaning some contractor work (janitors, aides, receptionists, etc...) will not be needed.

As a result, those individuals are without jobs.

One Huntsville City Schools contractor spoke with WAFF on the condition her name be withheld over retaliation concerns.

She’s employed by Spur, a staffing company with 4,000 school-related contractors across the state. Huntsville City Schools contracts with Spur to get her services. She was able to provide WAFF with documentation showing her connection to the district and Spur.

She said she understands the challenges surrounding the pandemic, but wishes the district could have done more.

“There are so many single mothers out there, that they’re like I don’t know what we’re going to do. Our janitors and everything, what are they going to do? There’s no money. We get no money,” she said.

“Why weren’t we paid for at least the couple of weeks before the unemployment may kick in, who’s to say it’s going to kick in or not."

The Huntsville City Schools’ spokesman did not return a request for comment.

Spur’s general manager of staffing, Lindsay Phillips, declined an interview request but said the following over email.

Huntsville City Schools is one of our district partners that are working hard to keep as many employees as they possibly can working. We have custodians, CNP staff, grounds workers and security teams continuing to work for the district. Some other positions are not currently working due to the nature of their work. We are working collaboratively with the district and other community partners to find work opportunities for those impacted individuals. We are very appreciative for Huntsville City Schools continued efforts to support their workforce.

She said Spur is offering retraining, help with unemployment claims, and alternative job assistance to those contractors.

The Spur website also offers a FAQ page for contractors out of work.

The contractor said she is stable financially for the moment, but will need a solution by the summer.

It’s unclear how many contractors in Huntsville City Schools are impacted, but she said she works with roughly 20-30 in the school she operates in.

Madison City Schools spokesman said the district has 300 contract employees.

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