Forty-three laundry workers axed at Vancouver Hospital

News release

HEU renews calls to health authority to publicly release the private contract

The Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) is renewing calls for the release of a lucrative laundry contract between the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and U.S.-controlled K-Bro Linen Systems in the wake of a second wave of layoff notices issued to 43 workers at Vancouver Hospital yesterday afternoon.

“The loss of these experienced hospital laundry workers puts patients at increased risk and is not in the public interest,” says HEU spokesperson Zorica Bosancic. “Government health privatization plans mean that hospitals no longer have direct control over the contracted-out workforce and must rely on low-waged, private companies with high staff turnover to maintain standards of linen and laundry cleanliness and infection control.”

To date, the health authority’s contract with K-Bro Linen Systems remains a secret but the union is hopeful that it will be released in the near future.

“It is in the public interest to allow outside scrutiny and independent analysis of cost saving claims and performance guarantees,” Bosancic says. “And it ensures openness and accountability, something that British Columbians are entitled to from a public health authority.”

Last week, HEU launched a formal appeal with the office of the information and privacy commissioner to obtain the contract between K-Bro and the Fraser Health Authority.

Vancouver Hospital’s 43 pink-slipped laundry workers — whose last day is September 13 — join 47 Lions Gate Hospital employees who lost their jobs in June as a result of the same K-Bro laundry contract.

-30- Contact: Margi Blamey, 604-456-7094 (direct), 604-785-5324 (cell)