NEW YORK — Industrial laundry workers, who wash linen for New York metro area hospitals, such as NYU Medical Center and St. Johns Hospital, are fighting to keep their jobs and maintain fair wages and benefits, according to Workers United/SEIU.
Angelica Workers were joined by Laundry, Distribution and Food Service Joint Board, Workers United/SEIU leaders, Executive Director of the Long Island Federation of Labor, Richard Clemens, Executive Director of Long Island Jobs with Justice, Charlene Obernauer and staff from Hempstead Mayor Hill’s office to call attention to the possible loss of 165 good jobs from the City of Hempstead.
“Laundry workers in the New York Metro Area have fought long and hard to raise standards in an industry that is still plagued with sweatshop conditions, “ said Albert Arroyo, Secretary/ Treasurer of the Laundry, Distribution, Food Service Joint Board, Workers United/SEIU, “We cannot go backwards and turn laundry jobs into poverty level jobs again.”
Angelica Corp, an Atlanta based healthcare launderer, notified the 165 workers at their Hempstead facility that the corporation is selling the plant to Plainview, New York based FDR Services Corp. However, FDR is demanding workers take a 15% pay cut or the company will not buy the facility resulting in the loss of 165 good jobs. A majority of workers at the laundry plant make between $9 and $12 an hour. Over a third of the workforce has worked at the plant for 20 years or more and 77% of the workforce has been there for 10 years or more, according to Workers United / SEIU.
“I have worked at this plant since 1998 and I make $10.98 an hour,” said Angelica laundry worker Adela Alberto, “It is a fair wage for the hard work we do washing, folding and mending soiled hospital linen. If my wages were slashed by 15% I would have a hard time making ends meet. We welcome FDR, but not at such a high cost”
The workers who process the linen and deliver it to area healthcare facilities are represented by the Laundry, Distribution and Food Service Joint Board, Workers United/ SEIU and have free healthcare, a pension and other important benefits and protections.
The Laundry, Distribution and Food Service Joint Board, Workers United/SEIU represents nearly 70% of all industrial laundry workers in the New York Metro area. In August laundry workers at JVK Operations in Long Island voted to join the Laundry, Distribution and Food Service Joint Board, Workers United/ SEIU and the Joint Board continues to organize the remaining laundries in the New York Metro area in order to bring all laundry workers up to the standards of their membership.
Unfortunately, for many of us on the East coast, Hurricane Sandy has dampened our end-of-year joy. Here at Laundry Today, our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who was affected by the recent super storm.
Although Sandy brought little rain, the high tide, full moon and storm surge flooded my hometown with close to 5 feet of water. Cars floated, alarms rang, fires sparked, boats from the canals found their way onto boulevards and people’s homes flooded.
It has been three weeks since Sandy slammed the East coast, but remnants of the storm are everywhere. Many of us did not have electric, heat, phone or Internet service for close to two weeks. Some of us still do not have those services.
Many areas are still littered with contents of people’s homes, trees are still being cut up and removed from streets and everywhere you look – someone’s car is being towed. However, slowly but surely as the affected areas are beginning to rebuild – people are regaining a sense of hope.
Since Sandy struck, my children and I have spent our time working in a local Disaster Distribution Center. Hearing what others have endured has made the waterlogged ground floor of my home seem like a gift. The damage caused by Sandy is staggering. But if there is a silver lining to this storm, it has been seeing people join together to help put the pain and devastation of Sandy behind us.
TRSA has launched its Hygienically Clean certification program to recognize textile services companies' commitment to cleanliness through third-party, quantified biological testing and inspection. The certification process eliminates subjectivity by verifying that textiles cleaned in these facilities meet hygiene standards appropriate for any type of business that uses garments, linens, towels, floor mats, mops and other professionally laundered items.
HYGIENICALLY CLEAN CERTIFICATIONS
A specific designation for laundries with medical work (Hygienically Clean – Healthcare) is available and another will soon be offered for those who serve restaurants and other businesses where food safety is paramount (Hygienically Clean – Food Service).
To attain a Hygienically Clean certification, a laundry must deploy best management practices (BMPs) and pass bacteriological testing and facility inspections. Tests use the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) 61 protocol:
- Allows a minimal amount of bacteria to remain after textiles are laundered
- Pass/fail criteria of less than or equal to 20 colony forming units (cfu)
A laundry is not required to use particular processes, chemicals or BMPs to achieve certification— whatever tactics management feels are necessary can be used to achieve TRSA’s Minimum Performance Specifications as measured by bacteriological testing. But BMPs must be documented in a written quality control manual.
“Managers in many types of workplaces are becoming more conscientious about the sanitation of their processes. They want to be more confident that they are taking every step possible to prevent human illness in their facilities and their customers’. TRSA’s Hygienically Clean certifications help achieve this objective by ensuring textile products laundered for businesses meet key disinfection criteria,” TRSA President & CEO Joseph Ricci said.
To approve laundries for Hygienically Clean certification, TRSA inspects them to review their documentation and observe their BMP deployment. After this initial on-site inspection, facilities are examined on a 3-year basis. Bacteriological testing begins with one evaluation in each of the first three months the laundry is certified, then one every six months.
TRSA’S CLEAN GREEN CERTIFICATION
TRSA also launched an international initiative in sustainability and environmental protection with the unveiling of the Clean Green certification program. It recognizes companies that meet TRSA requirements for achieving efficiencies in water and energy conservation and adopting best management practices for reusing, reclaiming and recycling resources.
The certification gives the industry’s business-to-business customers third-party verification that the uniforms, tablecloths, bed sheets, floor mats, towels and other reusable textiles they procure from Clean Green certified companies are laundered in an environmentally friendly manner.
“Contracting with a Clean Green laundry is a commitment to sustainability and statement of conscientiousness about natural resources, part of managing a supply chain with maximum environmental protection in mind,” noted Joseph Ricci, TRSA president and CEO. “More business owners and operators are modifying their production technologies, processes and work habits to improve efficiency and conserve supplies. Clean Green prompts them to consider how their choices of outsourced functions such as laundry affect their total environmental impact.”
Clean Green certified textile services operations meet quality standards for effectiveness in conserving resources, controlling sewer discharges and otherwise minimizing environmental impact. A business that uses uniforms, linens, floor mats and other reusable textiles laundered by a Clean Green facility can point to the certification as evidence that these were washed, dried and finished with techniques selected to maximize sustainability.
To obtain the certification, laundries must document their efficiencies in water and energy use and deploy best management practices (BMPs) such as:
- Recovering heat from drained hot water and heat dispersed from the process of warming water
- Recapturing drained water from rinses for reuse
- Using environmentally friendly detergents
- Removing solids and liquids from wastewater
- Solar energy and energy-efficient lighting
- Recycling programs
- Re-routing trucks to save vehicle fuel
- Spill prevention plans
- Preventive maintenance
How Laundries Earn This Certification
A laundry facility becomes Clean Green certified by meeting water and energy conservation standards and deploying best management practices (BMPs) described above. Operations that cannot meet the conservation standards may offset this by implementing more BMPs. Validating Adherence to Clean Green Standards
TRSA inspects laundry facilities seeking the certification and approves documentation of their water and energy use and BMP deployment through production reports they submit to auditors during the inspections. Laundries create these reports from their records on detergent use, what items they wash from each customers and the number of loads they run, among other sources. They are accredited for three years at a time.
The new certification requires a paper audit, followed by a plant inspection to verify the paperwork. Recertification takes place every three years with an inspection during this three-year period. A facility can be certified as Clean Green by following one of two paths:
- Perform listed BMPs and achieve water and energy use standards that are based on the size of a laundry, with 5 million lbs. of laundry production the cut-off for large and small plants.
- Perform an increased number of BMPs; water and energy standards don’t apply.
A company that produces more than 5 million lbs. of laundry annually can meet the program’s water standard by using 2.6 gallons per lb. or less. A company that produces 5 million lbs. or less each year must use 3.2 gallons per lb. or less to reach Clean Green’s water standard. The energy standards are: 3,000 Btu per lb. or less for a company that produces greater than 5 million lbs. of laundry, and 3,700 Btu per lb. or less for a company with 5 million lbs. or less annual output.
BMPs are split into two tiers of eco-friendly equipment or processes. Tier one includes five standards worth 20 points each and are considered more indicative of environmental stewardship. Examples include boiler heat recovery or direct-fired water heater, wastewater heat recovery, etc. The second tier includes 10 standards worth 10 points each. Tier two BMPs include energy efficient lighting or skylights and fleet vehicle route optimization, among others. All companies must achieve at least 60 points from tier one. If a company meets the water and energy standards, it must get an additional 40 BMP points from either tier one or tier two to achieve a total of 100; if a company doesn’t meet the water and energy standards, it can still get certified by reaching a total of 130 BMP points with 70 additional from either tier one or two.
SADDLE BROOK, N.J. — When William J. Tingue and William E. Brown formed Tingue, Brown & Co. in New York in 1902, the Yankees were still called the Baltimore Orioles, the first movie theater had just opened its doors and paper dollars were still redeemed for gold at the U.S. Treasury.
Though much has changed in the 110 years since the company’s founding, the core values, the product innovations and the focus on service to the laundry industry remain staunchly the same. Integrity, loyalty and ingenuity set a strong foundation that enabled many good people to thrive in and grow the company, according to David Tingue, fourth-generation CEO of the closely-knit, family-owned and operated laundry product supplier.
“Frankly, we’re busy trying to focus on today, on one customer at a time, one laundry at a time and then at the end of the year, we realize another year has gone by and hopefully we can look back and feel proud of our efforts and the results,” says Tingue. “That we’re still doing this after 110 years is both humbling and gratifying.”
Originally launched offering specialty felts, aprons and accessories for ironers during the infancy of the commercial laundry industry, Tingue, Brown & Co. devised, developed and often patented a host of product innovations to suit the many flatwork ironers and other machines coming on the market. They built their reputation on quality products and the expertise of their representatives. That proven formula lives on today as “Team Tingue” continues to roll out new products that help laundries worldwide boost finish quality, reduce energy consumption and support safety programs, among other objectives, while providing expert, personal service and on-site installation.
“As long as we move forward with this level of knowledge, dedication and commitment to customer service then I feel we’ll be prepared for whatever the next 110 years may bring,” says Tingue.
Team Tingue today also encompasses laundry cart manufacturer Meese Orbitron Dunne Co., Ashtabula, Ohio and laundry machine parts and equipment manufacturer Talley Machinery, Greensboro, N.C., also founded in 1902.
WESTERVILLE, OHIO —By a vote of its Board of Directors, the International Executive Housekeepers Association will now be known simply as IEHA, with the tagline “Uniting facility managers, worldwide,” to better reflect the organization’s brand and the professionalism of the cleaning industry.
According to IEHA President Eric Bates: “Organizational branding is contingent on organizational identity, and ours has changed. Our ‘new’—but established—simplified name of IEHA reflects that change and allows us to grow IEHA as a brand keenly representing members’ skill and career development interests.”
“Just as personal identities grow and mature, so do professional identities,” Beth Risinger, CEO/Executive Director said. “The International Executive Housekeepers Association (commonly known as IEHA) has become a mature organization with a strong identity around member skills accreditation, certification, education, health and safety.”
IEHA plans to make a complete switchover of all internal documents and the website to the new name and logo by January 2013.
Quick Rinse - News From Around The World
ELECTRICAL FIRE In Laundry
NEW ORLEANS —Fire in a building that houses laundry equipment adjacent to a New Orleans Parish jail appears to have been electrical, said the sheriff’s office. There were no injuries and no evacuations necessary.