Health care workers take action to stop Fraser Valley jobs from being trucked to Alberta
Dozens of health care workers and their supporters have established a blockade at a Chilliwack industrial park to prevent the shipment of hospital laundry and local jobs to Calgary.
The contingent arrived at the Legacy Industrial Park at 6333 Unsworth Road in Chilliwack shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday to stop the Alberta-bound semi-trailer loaded with dirty hospital laundry from leaving.
The Fraser Health Authority gave K-Bro Linen Systems — a U.S.-controlled company based in Alberta — an unprecedented 10-year contract to provide laundry for four local hospitals. Over the next year, 4 million pounds of hospital laundry will be trucked to and from the company’s Calgary plant.
Forty-three laundry workers at the Chilliwack and Mission hospitals lost their jobs when the contract took effect November 16. The loss to the local economy is $1.5 million.
The Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) is also concerned about linen and laundry shortages and the degradation of stained materials left filthy for several days.
“This government is quite literally trucking community-supporting jobs to Alberta along with the dirty laundry,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt who is at the protest.
“It’s just another way that Gordon Campbell is making his corporate friends rich on the backs of workers, patients and local health care services.”
Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, phone: 604-828-6771 (cell)