The “sudden and unexpected non-renewal” of its custodial contract with Lafayette General Health will leave 243 local workers without jobs on Dec. 12, Philadelphia-based Aramark Healthcare Services told the Louisiana Workforce Commission in an Oct. 11 Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification.
Aramark, a global food, facilities and uniforms service provider, says the hospital group ended its cleaning contract; most of the affected workers are listed as custodial (117) and housekeeping (74) employees.
According to an Oct. 10 press release from the hospital system and its subsidiary, Lafayette General Medical Center, the “environmental services” previously offered by Aramark will be brought in-house, and affected employees can apply for some of those positions. LGH says in the release that a majority of health systems across the country run their own housekeeping services, which is how it operated until 2007. Aramark will continue to contract with LGH to provide food and nutrition services.
Word of these cuts comes on the heels of another belt-tightening move by the hospital — the shuttering of its fitness facility, Lafayette General Wellness at The Townhouse, on Nov. 30 — and confirmation in September that it would lay off 70 employees.
LGMC says it can no longer compete with the large number of fitness centers in the area. “In order to stay aligned with the hospital mission, LGMC will retain employees to continue the Executive Health Physicals and Occupational Health programs,” according to the release.
Additionally, on Nov. 18 LGMC will discontinue its free valet parking service, which it says was initially supposed to be offered only during construction.
“As we tighten our budget, we needed to closely scrutinize non-patient care services,” LGMC CEO Patrick Gandy says in the release. “In fact, our goal is to expand patient care areas. By eliminating our valet contract, a decision we did not make lightly, we will be able to reallocate approximately [$2 million] over the next four years.”
He says all valet staff have also been offered the opportunity to apply for vacant jobs within the system.
Additionally, the hospital will expand its partnership with Acadiana-based Advanced Radiographics on Dec. 1 for courier service. This change will increase the service capacity and coverage area of LGMC’s courier service, while leveraging ARI’s upgraded tracking technology and reliability.
It's unclear whether Aramark was required to file a WARN under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Such notices are required if there is a full plant closure resulting in 50 or more employees losing their jobs in any 30-day period or if there is a mass layoff during any 30-day period. A round of cuts is considered a mass layoff if it affects more than 500 employees or between 50 and 499 employees and comprises 33 percent or more of the active workforce at a particular site.