published Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Erlanger moves to outsource services: CEO says housekeeping, food workers can work for new contractor

About 250 Erlanger employees could be moved off the hospital's payroll as executives announce a plan to outsource all housekeeping and food services.

A proposed $12.5 million contract with Aramark Corp. could mean all such facility services will no longer fall under the hospital's management.

Erlanger CEO Kevin Spiegel said employees in those departments would keep their jobs under the new contract, as it includes the stipulation to hire all current Erlanger housekeeping and food service employees at their current salaries and rank.

Spiegel also said any monetary benefits accrued over employees' careers with Erlanger "would be paid out" and Aramark's management would grandfather in an employee's level of seniority with Erlanger.

  • photo
    The Erlanger Baroness campus.
    Photo by Staff File Photo.
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Any new employees hired by Aramark would be subject to that company's salary and benefits policies.

The major shift in personnel services is an attempt to further curtail the financially-troubled hospital's operating costs.

The shift is expected to save the hospital about $3 million in both material and personnel costs, and will bring roughly $10.5 million in capital improvements, like an overhaul of the kitchen.

"Erlanger has been losing money, and we have to exercise prudent management techniques," Spiegel said. "I know these savings are out there, and we're obligated to take responsibility to enact them."

Spiegel acknowledged the food service and housekeeping employees are already some of the lowest-paid staff at the hospital, but insisted employees are being represented "in the best possible way" in the potential transition.

The agreement with Aramark will replace Erlanger's current food service agreement with Sodexo. The hospital announced it was pursuing public bids for the facility services in July.

Aramark, Spiegel said, presented the lowest of the public bids for the services and offered "the most in capital improvement."

The hospital board's Budget and Finance Committee will meet to vote on the proposal Monday night. If approved, the full board will vote on the measure Thursday.

Contact staff writer Kate Harrison at kharrison@times freepress.com or 423-757-6673.

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