Thursday, May 26, 2011

CM James Testimony to DC37 On HHC Action Regarding Brooklyn Central Laundry

NYC Council Member Letitia James
Official Testimony to DC37 on 05/26/2011

“I thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony regarding the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) Finance Committee Action on Contract with Consortium Sodexo, Unitex, and Nextra (“Sodexo”) to Operate Brooklyn Central Laundry.

I was dismayed to learn that the HHC’s Finance Committee voted on May 10, 2011 to recommend to the Board of Directors to vote to award a contract to Sodexo, a global food and facilities management corporation. This contract would result in the elimination of over 180 union-represented positions at the Brooklyn Central Laundry and in linen units in HHC facilities.

Today, I join many other elected officials, as well as District Council 37 (DC37), in urging the HHC Board of Directors to postpone this vote, and take the time to review DC37’s counter proposal.

My understanding is that Sodexo, based in France, has engaged in unfair labor practices in the past. In fact, the U.S. Marine Corps cancelled part of their catering contract with Sodexo in February 2011[1]. The contract— originally worth $150M per year over an eight year period, totaling $1.2B— was cut after negative publicity from the U.S. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in regards to union bashing and poor working conditions.

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), which provides audits and financial advice regarding Defense Department contracts, generated over 80 audit reports for Sodexo's contracts, but the Marine Corps redacted virtually all useful information— including very basic information such as how much they paid to Sodexo each quarter to perform the contract.

It is questionable that the HHC would be so eager to contract with Sodexo considering a spotty record on contractual matters and workers-rights. Furthermore, it is my understanding that Sodexo plans to move many of these existing positions to Rochester, which would mean a loss of jobs for City employees.

For these reasons, I urge further review and consultation regarding this contracts, specifically in relation to the economic impact in Central Brooklyn due any potential loss of jobs."

Letitia James
Member of the City Council

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