SUDBURY, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 24, 2017) - Thousands in the Sudbury community want Health Sciences North (HSN) to rescind its contract with a laundry in Southern Ontario, for hospital laundry workers not to lose their jobs and for the MPP to "visibly care" and do something, anything at all to keep the work local.
"Why aren't HSN and the MPP listening to any of us? Why don't they care about the well-being of families and local economy? That's what a lot of people in Sudbury want to know. We hear it everywhere, why don't they care enough to nix this new contract with a Hamilton laundry and keep the work here," says Gisele Dawson president of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 2841 representing 36 unionized staff at Sudbury Hospital Services (SHS).
The hospital laundry workers were advised recently trucks will be leaving the SHS plant with their last load of clean linens to HSN, on Saturday, March 25, 2017 sometime after 12:00 noon. A community rally will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at SHS, 363 York Street.
Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request point to an irregular bidding process that seems to have only assessed one bid from a hospital laundry outside of Hamilton. This week CUPE's Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) called on Ontario's health minister to review what it sees as a "corrupted bidding process."
HSN appears to have only consulted with Mohawk Shared Services of Hamilton in choosing it over Sudbury Hospital Services, says OCHU secretary-treasurer Sharon Richer. "It appears as though the Mohawk group had insider information and normal channels weren't followed and we don't believe there were other bidders. We want the health minister to halt this process and investigate the bid-tender process," she says.
HSN has insinuated that it is under pressure by the province to cut costs and is taking its hospital laundry business out of Sudbury, to get a cheaper price for the service. But an economic impact assessment done by the City of Greater Sudbury found that Sudbury's local economy would lose $6.5 million a year as a result of HSN shipping its hospital laundry elsewhere.
"It's a sad day for us. Also, it's a very sad day for our whole community. What does it say about the MPP whose government is responsible for forcing hospitals to merge services into bigger providers in southern Ontario? It's a provincial policy that turns its back on local businesses. In the case of SHS its been operating for nearly half a century. What about HSN? It technically owns the hospital laundry. Where is the loyalty to the local economy and to the workers losing jobs from the hospital when they send work down the highway? Surely they feel responsible," says Dawson.