Custodian Team Cleaning (CTC): Doomed to Fail

April 2, 2019

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(This article first appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

By Maintenance Division Director Idowu Balogun

Beginning in 2012, The US Postal Service embarked on a “Pilot” program to replace the 1983 Housekeeping Handbook MS 47 TL 3 with Custodian Team Cleaning (CTC). The CTC concept was created by a Utah based company called Manage Men. The new handbook was titled MS 47 TL 5.

By the end of 2014, USPS rolled out the Pilot program nationwide as the new standard of operation. Under CTC, four custodians are jointly responsible for completing all assigned tasks. The four specialists include the Restroom Specialist, Vacuum Specialist, Light Duty Specialist and Utility Specialist. Three of the four specialists visit each room, with the exception of the Restroom Specialist, creating the Team Cleaning Concept. Each specialist’s duties are as follows:

In our opinion, the Vacuum Specialist’s daily duty is the most challenging task of all. They are responsible for carrying a 10-15-pound vacuum machine and dirt around for up to eight hours per day. This is a daunting task for anyone, let alone our aging workforce.

The CTC Program drastically reduced the custodial staff by over thirty percent across the country. Cleaning frequency was reduced, and cleaning chemicals and tools were standardized. The safety and well-being of our employees are serious concerns to us.

Under TL 5, the Postal Service mandated the usage of a specific provider nationwide for its initial setup, daily cleaning materials and equipment for each CTC Specialist’s needs.

Currently, the Postal Service is paying millions of dollars across the country to set up CTC for its In-Out Checkout CTC supply rooms, with a contract for the single source provider to continue to replenish supplies on a regular basis. APWU’s investigation reveals that the new cleaning chemicals are NOT cleaning at all – what a racket!

Our members are forced to resort to desperate measures, with some managers encouraging employee to return to using the TL 3 cleaning supplies. Give me a break!

As your National Maintenance Representatives, we are not happy with USPS’s TL 5 postal experiment. In our humble opinion, TL 5 is doomed to fail. It is time to return to the TL 3 Handbook and Cleaning Standards. What do you think? The Maintenance Division is asking for your thoughts, concerns and input with Custodian Team Cleaning and products. Please email Director Balogun at I would love to hear from you all!

Update 10/21/19:

After reading our article, the Postal Service's HQ reached out to the union for a meeting. We shared with the agency over two hundred emails from custodians and other employees across the country regarding the shortcomings of CTC products and failures; the parties agreed on a joint visit to some post offices across the country for observation. On October 16, 2019, we visited the Kansas City Processing Plant. The visit was productive.The Postal Service is currently testing a cordless backpack vacuum and are re-evaluating the current cleaning chemicals, tools, allocated allocated time and more. We will keep you posted. This is a step in the right direction.

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