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Congress Opens Federal Contracting Opportunities

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Senate has passed the Fiscal Year ’04 Omnibus Appropriations bill that provides budgets for many federal departments including the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bill passed by a vote of 65-28, and includes a provision of the Transportation-Treasury Appropriations bill providing temporary relief from Federal Prison Industries’ (FPI) status as an exclusive source for products and services. Efforts had previously been underway in Washington to provide legislative relief to federal departments required to purchase items such as laundry services, textiles, furniture etc., from FPI.

Included in the omnibus federal appropriations bill passed by the Senate is a provision giving government contracting officers the authority to determine, based on product quality and delivery schedule, whether FPI or a private sector competitor offers best value on a potential half-billion dollars in products and services"I am very pleased that Congress finally became aware of the urgency of this matter by passing such relief,” said Ken Tyler. “After working on this endeavor specifically for close to 17 years with numerous professional organizations, I now remain confident that this long awaited legislated action will soon become permanent. FPI UNICOR have been ripping off government agencies and the American taxpayer for entirely to long.”

“This represents a major step in our efforts to reform a fundamentally flawed system, but Congress must continue to work toward a permanent solution,” said Roger Cocivera, Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA) Interim President and CEO. “TRSA urges Congress to pass the House-approved H.R. 1829, a reform bill that eliminates FPI’s mandatory source status over the course of five years and provides for much-needed inmate rehabilitation programs. More and more often, our members are being subject to this fundamentally flawed arrangement where taxpayers are required to fund a government system that exploits prison labor to unfairly compete for marketplace opportunities and jobs.”

“I am pleased that this legislation is being passed. I have always felt that the practice of government or state facilities utilizing inmates to compete with the private sector is totally unfair,” said Ron Weinstein, president, Laundry Today. “When inmates have served their sentences, if they are trained in laundry jobs, then our industry should make an effort to hire and assist them in their transition as they join us in the workplace.”

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Ecolab Acquires Dober Chemical’S Textile Care Business

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ecolab Inc. a leader in cleaning, sanitizing, food safety and infection prevention products and services announced it has purchased the commercial laundry division of Dober Chemical Corporation. The acquisition includes Dober’s laundry chemical and waste water treatment and Ultrax dispensing businesses as well as an exclusive partnership to market and provide key components of its Spindle monitoring software.

“Dober is respected throughout the industry for its innovative monitoring technology, product chemistry and commitment to service – qualities that complement our own strengths at Ecolab,” said Brian Henke, vice president and general manager, Ecolab Textile Care North America. “As we expand our North American commercial laundry business, innovation and service excellence will continue to be our top priority as we partner with our customers to deliver unsurpassed value to run their operations more efficiently, sustainably and cost effectively.”

“Ecolab and Dober share the same customercentric approach to service and innovative technology,” said John Dobrez, president Dober Chemical Corp. “This is an exciting development because it builds on the strengths of both companies to move the industry forward.”

Through this agreement, Spindle Technologies,a division of Dober, is forming a strategic alliance with Ecolab Textile Care in an exclusive licensing agreement for its ChemWatch Software technology and the OPTRAX Utility Module.

“There will be no movement of people as they currently all operate remotely,” said Henke. “The Dober leadership team is very skilled and respected in the industry. We plan to have them as part of the team moving forward. During the transition, both businesses will operate as usual and we do not expect there to be any changes in the service the customers are used to receiving.”