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Congress Opens Federal Contracting Opportunities

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Senate has passed the Fiscal Year ’04 Omnibus Appropriations bill that provides budgets for many federal departments including the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bill passed by a vote of 65-28, and includes a provision of the Transportation-Treasury Appropriations bill providing temporary relief from Federal Prison Industries’ (FPI) status as an exclusive source for products and services. Efforts had previously been underway in Washington to provide legislative relief to federal departments required to purchase items such as laundry services, textiles, furniture etc., from FPI.

Included in the omnibus federal appropriations bill passed by the Senate is a provision giving government contracting officers the authority to determine, based on product quality and delivery schedule, whether FPI or a private sector competitor offers best value on a potential half-billion dollars in products and services"I am very pleased that Congress finally became aware of the urgency of this matter by passing such relief,” said Ken Tyler. “After working on this endeavor specifically for close to 17 years with numerous professional organizations, I now remain confident that this long awaited legislated action will soon become permanent. FPI UNICOR have been ripping off government agencies and the American taxpayer for entirely to long.”

“This represents a major step in our efforts to reform a fundamentally flawed system, but Congress must continue to work toward a permanent solution,” said Roger Cocivera, Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA) Interim President and CEO. “TRSA urges Congress to pass the House-approved H.R. 1829, a reform bill that eliminates FPI’s mandatory source status over the course of five years and provides for much-needed inmate rehabilitation programs. More and more often, our members are being subject to this fundamentally flawed arrangement where taxpayers are required to fund a government system that exploits prison labor to unfairly compete for marketplace opportunities and jobs.”

“I am pleased that this legislation is being passed. I have always felt that the practice of government or state facilities utilizing inmates to compete with the private sector is totally unfair,” said Ron Weinstein, president, Laundry Today. “When inmates have served their sentences, if they are trained in laundry jobs, then our industry should make an effort to hire and assist them in their transition as they join us in the workplace.”

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Gulf Coast Laundry Acquired by Swisher Hygine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Swisher Hygiene Inc., a provider of hygiene and sanitation products and services, announced that it acquired Gulf Coast Laundry Services of Mississippi, LLC (“Gulf Coast Laundry Services”), a Mississippibased linen services company.

Gulf Coast Laundry Services provides linen rental and laundry services throughout southern Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, primarily to hotel, casino and resort customers. Concurrent with the acquisition, the founder of Gulf Coast Laundry Services, David Gross, will join Swisher Hygiene and contribute to the continued growth of its linen services business.

Total consideration paid by Swisher Hygiene in connection with the acquisition includes approximately $4.8 million in cash and the issuance of a convertible promissory note which may be converted into a maximum of 350,000 shares of Swisher Hygiene common stock subject to certain restrictions, including acceptance by the Toronto Stock Exchange.