Healthcare Barrier Gowns
Disposables manufacturers are increasingly pushing into public policy discussion their challenges to the durability and impermeability of reusable healthcare garments. TRSA is monitoring this promotional activity, defending the textile services industry and building reusables’ reputation by publicizing scientific findings proving their wherewithal. When the state Department of Labor and Industries in Washington proposed a rule that would allow only disposable barrier gowns as personal protective equipment (PPE) for handling hazardous drugs, TRSA worked with local members on comments and testimony. The department issued a final rule issued with language provided by TRSA protecting the use of reusable barrier gowns.
Hotel/Lodging Bed Sheets
Pro-labor interests embrace the misguided notion that fitted sheets make for safer housekeeping. This prompted the California Senate to consider a bill requiring all lodging facilities in the state to substitute these for flat sheets. TRSA worked with a coalition to counter this effort and a TRSA grassroots campaign resulted in California members contacting their respective senators. Following TRSA’s testimony before the Appropriations Committee of the State Assembly, the Senate author pulled the legislation from consideration. The issue may surface again elsewhere.
Industrial Shop Towels
Industrial launderers’ improved processes for handling heavily soiled shop towels have prompted EPA to propose that the industry’s best practices be codified as a federal rule. This will result in the exclusion of these reusables from regulation as solid waste (until they are no longer in service and disposed) and they won’t be classified as hazardous waste. TRSA continues liaison on this matter with EPA’s Office of Materials Recovery and Waste Management Division, expecting the exclusion to be published in a final rule in July 2012. Another shop towel-related issue involves air emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from processing print and shop towels. Citing the continuing reduction of laundry processing of VOCs as laundry customers use solvents with fewer of these, TRSA is organizing industrial laundries in this region and negotiating with the agency’s New England regional office to lift a prohibitively expensive reporting mandate on these facilities begun in 2011. The industry continues to highlight that wastewater treatment and disposal of filter media in lined landfills protect the environment from the byproducts of shop towel processing.
The committee seeks to keep the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) within the bounds of its legal responsbility to implement legislation (not make it) by preventing the NLRB from using its executive power to enact portions of the proposed Employee Free Choice Act. For example, the NLRB seeks to effectively silence employers during union organizing drives by reducing the amount of time they have to make their case to employees. As a result, many workers would only hear the union’s side of the story. The committee has prompted some 140 individuals from TRSA companies to voice their support for the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which remedies this concern. TRSA also supports the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act, which prevents the NLRB from dictating where a private business can establish its workforce. Both bills have passed the House of Representatives.
TRSA supports legislation to prevent Federal Prison Industries (FPI) from monopolizing federal contract work and expanding into serving the private sector. FPI (trade name “Unicor”) is a government-owned corporation that employs prisoners to manufacture goods or perform services for federal agencies. The two current Unicor laundry operations (AL and FL) are almost completely dedicated to serving nearby military operations. While TRSA would like to see that work open to bidding, we support the legislation primarily as a “marker” for state authorities that encourage their prisons to compete for private-sector laundry accounts.
Textile Item Deductibility
The Treasury Department and IRS are finalizing a rule that treats the industry favorably by allowing companies to deduct the cost of rental items under $100 when these are purchased. The committee is maintaining contact with IRS to ensure this is implemented. A previously proposed provision would have permitted such deduction only if these items’ service dates were tracked, creating an onerous reporting burden on laundries. The current proposal retains flexibility to amortize these expenses alternatively.
Political Action Committee
TRSA PAC backs key members of Congress who support the industry, upholding our legislative goals and supporting our regulatory initiatives. Engaging TRSA PAC-supported legislators in our advocacy with the IRS and EPA has had a measurable impact on these agencies’ rulemaking, protecting textile services operators’ profitability. Donations are increasingly vital as regulators actively attempt to finish new regulations and Congress gears up for election battles.
- P.J. Dempsey (Chair), Dempsey Uniform & Linen Supply Inc., Jessup, PA
- Robert Brill, Republic Master Chefs, Los Angeles, CA
- Chris Brown, Mickey’s Linen, Chicago, IL
- James Buik, Roscoe Company, Chicago, IL
- Michael Croatti, Unifirst Corp., Wilmington, MA
- David Hart, Mountville Mills Inc., LaGrange, GA
- William (Bill) Kartsonis, Superior Linen Supply, Kansas City, MO
- Jim Lee, ARAMARK Uniform Services, Burbank, CA
- Alexis Miller, Regent Apparel, South San Francisco, CA
- Keith Nichols, Hand Craft Services Inc., Richmond, VA
- Brian O’Neil, California Linen Services, Pasadena, CA
- David Potack, Unitex Textile Rental Services Corporate Office, Mount Vernon, NY
- Mark Spence, Faultless Laundry Co., Kansas City, MO
- Tim Weiler, Alsco Inc., Salt Lake City, UT
877-770-9274, 703-519-0029. ext. 107