Erlanger Should Let Sodexo Workers Transition To New Food Service Contractor

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Is Erlanger about to assault the working poor?

Very few in living within the Chattanooga city limits would be able to say they did not know someone who received care from the city’s only public hospital. Indeed many of us were birthed at Erlanger and continue to rely on the necessary medical services they provide. Erlanger is chartered for the public good of providing medical care, but also serves the public good in being one of Chattanooga’s largest employers.

Erlanger’s Board of Trustees on 11/21 will consider a proposal to outsource its janitorial and food service jobs to Aramark.

The move is estimated to save Erlanger $3 million annually while bartering a $10 million kitchen upgrade. On the surface, the move seems logical given Erlanger’s hope to become more profitable. Upon further evaluation there is a huge problem with the treatment plan – workers employed under Sodexo’s 27-year contract are not guaranteed to be hired by the new vendor.

Now, all of the current workers hired directly by Erlanger will automatically transition to Aramark with the same salary and seniority. However, Sodexo employees may face a pink slip. Erlanger should treat Sodexo employees equally as all have overseen nutrition and cleanliness at the hospital. Aramark indicated it would hire additional employees; should not Sodexo workers be guaranteed first position?

The above question is just the tip of the iceberg though. Erlanger has to ensure that its employment policies do not have a “disparate impact” on disadvantaged persons (women, minorities, veterans). Simply put, “disparate impact” is a neutral decision made which has an unjust discriminatory impact. For example, if the employees currently employed by Erlanger are predominately men and those working for Sodexho are majority women, Aramark’s proposed move to only retain the Erlanger employed workers unintentionally has a “disparate impact”.

It is important that the Erlanger Board of Trustees properly diagnose this problem and affirmatively show no disparate impact exists with the approval of Aramark’s contract. Automatically cutting Sodexo employees may result in a sickening position for Erlanger’s bottom line.

Patrick Kellogg

Community Organizer


Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Veterinarian’s Horse Sense

I suspect you’ve heard by now that a doctor in New York City, who volunteers with “Doctors Without Borders,” just got back from the African nation of Guinea on October 17 – last Friday – and on Thursday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. Luckily, he came in actual contact with only a few people but he reportedly rode a subway, took a taxi, went on a three-mile run and ... (click for more)

2 People Shot Saturday Night On Carousel Road

Two people were shot Saturday evening on Carousel Road. At  9:11 p.m. , Chattanooga Police responded to 1406 Carousel Road on a call of a person shot. One victim on the scene suffered minor injuries.  Another victim was transported by personal vehicle to a local hospital. The s econd victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  The suspect ... (click for more)

Teenager Killed In ATV Accident Thursday Night

Damon Lee Jones, 15, was killed Thursday night in an ATV accident in Walker County. It was reported he was riding with a 17-year old, when they tried to enter a church parking lot, but ran into a cable barrier. The accident happened on Dunwoody Road in LaFayette. The other rider, identified as Timothy J. Wallin, was not injured.   (click for more)

Alabama Wins 34-20, But Vols Find A Can-Do QB In Dobbs

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee now has renewed hope for success down the home stretch of the 2014 football season. Maybe a bowl game is more a reality now than it was a week ago. Why? Quarterback Joshua Dobbs got on the field. Dobbs, who hadn’t taken a snap all season, rallied the Vols from a 27-0 deficit and turned in a sterling performance to threaten fourth-ranked ... (click for more)

Notre Dame edges Boyd Buc, 1-0 in Girls Soccer

Notre Dame senior Liz Ciabattone scored in the fifth minute and then the Irish held off a battling Boyd Buchanan team for the next 85 minutes for a 1-0 triumph in an A-AA sectional match. The victorious Irish along with Chattanooga Christian (2-0 winner against Grace) advance to the state quarters next Wednesday in Murfreesboro. “It’s good to get the win and advance to the ... (click for more)