Category Archives: Laundry

Study Finds Federal Contracts Given to Flagrant Violators of Labor Laws

Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times, December 10, 2013

A new congressional report criticizes the federal government for awarding tens of billions of dollars in contracts to companies even though they were found to have violated safety and wage laws and paid millions in penalties. Issued on behalf of the Democratic senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, the report cited examples over the past six years…

…The report urges the government to weigh a company’s safety and wage violations more closely as it awards contracts, which are about $500 billion a year to companies employing 26 million workers, representing 22 percent of the nation’s work force. It stops short of recommending automatic suspension of contracts or debarring contractors that were found to have violated federal laws, partly because government agencies were sometimes at fault, a committee staff member said. …

…According to the report, 18 federal contractors — including Imperial Sugar — were among the recipients of the largest 100 penalties issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from 2007 to 2012. The report found that 32 federal contractors were among the leading companies in the amount of back pay assessed for wage violations between 2007 and 2012. …
Related:
Acting Responsibly? Federal Contractors Frequently Put Workers’ Lives and Livelihoods at Risk
Source: Tom Harkin, U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Majority Committee Staff Report, December 11, 2013

From the summary:
– Eighteen federal contractors were recipients of one of the largest 100 penalties issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Department of Labor between 2007 and 2012. Almost half of the total initial penalty dollars assessed for OSHA violations were against companies holding federal contracts in 2012.
– Forty-two American workers died during this period as a result of OSHA violations by companies holding federal contracts in 2012.
– Thirty-two federal contractors received back wage assessments among the largest 100 issued by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor between 2007 and 2012.
– Thirty-five of these companies violated both wage and safety laws.
– Overall, the 49 federal contractors responsible for large violations of federal labor laws were cited for 1,776 separate violations of these laws and paid $196 million in penalties and assessments. In fiscal year 2012, these same companies were awarded $81 billion in taxpayer dollars.

Appendix IV – Company Profiles

An inside job? | Outsourcing—clinical and nonclinical—remains a popular option for supply- chain managers, but some systems are bringing services in-house

Source: Jaimy Lee, Modern Healthcare, Vol. 43 no. 35, September 2, 2013
(subscription required)

Hospital systems are taking the cost-reduction lessons they learned with medical devices such as joint implants and are applying them to more obscure and less costly categories of hospital spending. … Hospital systems are taking the cost-reduction lessons they learned with medical devices such as joint implants and are applying them to more obscure and less costly categories of hospital spending on nonclinical products and services.

Some healthcare providers in recent years have started to standardize and better utilize how they purchase services ranging from food catering and clinical engineering to laundry, as well as clinical-care services such as dialysis and clinician staffing. …

… MedAssets, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based group purchasing organization and one of the largest in the industry, has estimated that hospitals spend at least $200 billion on purchased services under local or regional contracts that are not efficiently priced, setting up an opportunity for hospital supply chain teams and outside vendors such as GPOs to get involved….

…Wheaton Franciscan works with its GPO on food contracts and has also centralized its laundry services and printing operations. It continues to manage its courier fleet internally after reviewing the costs and risks of outsourcing it. …

…Meanwhile, Sanford Health, a 23-hospital system based in Sioux Falls, S.D., manages a range of nonclinical purchased services such as elevator maintenance and housekeeping, as well as clinical-care services such as temporary physician and nurse staffing.

Sanford is now applying the same methods it has used to reduce the costs of medical supplies to a broad range of nonclinical service categories. In some of these areas, Sanford is reaping cost reductions up to 20%, says Tom Harvieux, the system’s vice president of supply chain management. Over the past year, Harvieux says Sanford is now relying less on outsourced services contractors and is bringing more of its purchased services contracts in-house. …

Opinion: Positive news a big result of Pocopson Home review

Source: Ryan Costello, Daily Local News, September 2, 2013

…Importantly, accompanying that decision has been a focus by the county commissioners to create extra revenue, and undertake cost savings for Pocopson Home, all while not compromising the high quality of service to its residents. To quantify the savings — in 2009, the cost of the Pocopson Home to Chester County taxpayers was $3 million. This year’s budgeted cost is reduced to $1.4 million, with this expense largely attributable to indirect costs (ie., the shared cost of other county departments, such as finance, facilities, etc., being fractionally expensed to those other county departments that use such services), and depreciation on the physical assets (ie., the actual building). Improvements that have been implemented (at a much lower overall cost) include the establishment of electronic medical records and medical supply ordering which yielded higher quality supplies at significant cost savings; the development of an in-house clinic that decreased trips out of the facility; and the creation of a secure memory unit and palliative care program providing an in-house alternative to outside hospice agencies.

Earlier this year, the county commissioners were presented with further proposed revenue enhancements and cost savings for Pocopson Home. It is estimated that, through the addition of 16 short-term rehabilitation beds, an income of $480,000 per year can be added after renovation expenses. And just last week, we approved a contract that allows a management company to oversee laundry services at Pocopson Home, and provide leadership support for housekeeping and maintenance – which will improve the quality of service and reduce our cost by $200,000 a year. …
Related:
County eyes changes, not sale, of Pocopson Home
Source: Michael P. Rellahan, Daily Local News, January 22, 2013

The administrator of Chester County’s Pocopson Home on Tuesday laid out a plan to strengthen finances at the long term care facility as county commissioners signaled that no change in ownership of the facility is being considered. R. Alan Larson told the three commissioners that establishing a short term rehabilitation in one of the facility’s nursing wings could bring in as much as $480,000 a year. Also, Larson said Pocopson could save $180,000 by laundering its linen and towels in house rather than having it done commercially. …

150 facing layoffs at Runnells Specialized Hospital in Union County

Source: Julia Terruso, Star-Ledger, May 06, 2012

Brandon Thomas has worked as a custodian at Runnells Specialized Hospital for the past three years. But in less than a month, he and the entire housekeeping, laundry and dietary staffs are to be laid off and their departments privatized, according to county plans….. A private company already has been contracted to provide occupational, speech and physical therapy to patients….. The hospital had an $11.3 million deficit last year, attributed largely to state cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements…. ..For Runnells, the privatization of parts of the hospital could foreshadow bigger changes. Officials said everything is on the table, including complete privatization.

Salem Hospital switches to inmate labor / Facility found private contractor for mop laundering unsatisfactory

Source: Alan Gustafson, Statesman Journal, June 9, 2011

Salem Hospital plans to switch to convict labor to clean its microfiber mop heads after scrapping its laundry contract with a private company. The job gradually will be turned over to inmates working at a commercial laundry at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, said Julie Howard, a spokeswoman for Salem Health….Concerns about the quality of mop-head cleaning provided by the hospital’s private contractor, Aramark Uniform Services, prompted hospital officials to pull the plug on the arrangement, Howard said….It was unclear whether any local Aramark employees would lose their jobs because of the canceled contract.

…In the past, owners of private businesses and labor unions have accused prison industries of competing unfairly because they are exempt from the state minimum-wage law and other restrictions on competition….Today, prison-based products and services overseen by OCE include metal fabrication, printing, document scanning, sewing, wood fabrication, a garment factory and three commercial laundries….For years, though, critics have maintained that prison industries have a leg up on private firms because they pay low wages for inmate labor and easily can draw on a readily available supply of new workers — all fed, clothed and cared for with taxpayer dollars….Unlike state agency contracts, OCE’s business contracts, by statute, are exempt from Oregon’s public-records law….

Board Mulls Privatizing Hospital Laundry

Source: Fred Mogul, WNYC News Blog, May 25, 2011

The public hospital system will decide on Thursday whether union workers will continue to wash the millions of sheets, pillowcases, lab coats and medical scrubs that come through a central laundry facility each year. The Health and Hospitals Corporation, whose governing board must approve the decision, wants to close the 50-year-old plant and let private companies handle the load. Currently, a contracted-company processes 1/3 of the laundry more quickly and cheaply than in-house workers, according to HHC President Alan Aviles.

Laundry workers fight to save jobs

Sourrce: By ALFREDO ALVARADO, DC 37 Public Employee Press (NY), July/August 2010

 

For over a decade DC 37 and Local 420 have been beating back continual attempts by the city and the Health and Hospitals Corp. to privatize public hospital laundry work and close the Brooklyn Central Laundry.

The latest threat would shift the jobs to a private, out-of-state company, Angelica Textile Services of New Jersey, which has been trying to take over the laundry service for many years. HHC President Alan D. Aviles announced the plan May 11 as part of a broad restructuring and cost containment proposal aimed at ending the hospital system’s recurring budget problems. The current gap is projected at over $1 billion.

Aramark workers vote to strike

Source: The Capital Times (WI), 5/28/2008 7:14 pm

Workers at the Aramark Laundry have voted unanimously to authorize a strike against the company over what the union contends are unfair labor practices.

The dispute between the company and its workers has heated up in recent weeks as the company called police to have union representatives tossed from the company, which police declined to do.

OSHA slaps Sodexho with safety violations

Source: Business First of Buffalo, Monday, May 5, 2008 – 1:02 PM EDT

A list of repeated and serious violations of federal health and safety standards has resulted in fines and penalties adding up to $77,125 against Sodexho Inc.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration disclosed the allegations Monday, citing the Buffalo company following inspections earlier this year. The inspections of a facility at 60 Grider St. were prompted by employee complaints, OSHA said.

….. Sodexho, which operates a laundry service at the site, has 15 days to contest the charges.