FHA private laundry deal means jobs lost in neighbouring health authority

News release

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The Fraser Health Authority has triggered the layoffs of 50 workers at the publicly-owned and operated Tilbury Regional Hospital Laundry, a facility recognized for its efficiency, cost-effectiveness and high quality standards, after awarding a lucrative laundry contract to two private companies earlier this week.

“The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority will begin issuing layoff notices to workers at the Tilbury Regional Hospital Laundry today,” says Zorica Bosancic, spokesperson for the Hospital Employees’ Union.

“Not only is the FHA diverting public dollars into private pockets, it is also causing employees who are justifiably proud of the work they do and the contribution they make to the public health care system to lose their jobs,” she says.

The Tilbury Regional Hospital Laundry falls under the jurisdiction of the VCHA and is widely acknowledged as a highly productive public facility with a dedicated workforce that delivers quality services.

The $50 million, 10-year laundry deal covers Burnaby, Delta, Langley Memorial, Ridge Meadows and Peace Arch hospitals. The hospitals’ laundry makes up approximately 50 per cent of Tilbury’s production.

According to the Fraser Health Authority, the more than 60 laundry workers currently employed at the hospitals will not be laid off.

Bosancic says that the Fraser Health Authority has aggressively pursued the Campbell Liberals’ contracting out and privatization agenda in health care to the detriment of patients, workers, their families and the communities in which they live.

“By ending its relationship with the Tilbury Regional Hospital Laundry, the FHA’s private laundry deal is negatively impacting the viability of an outstanding public facility and the livelihoods of workers in another health authority,” says Bosancic.

“It’s another example of a misguided decision to privatize that deserved public scrutiny before the contract was awarded.”

The Fraser Health Authority first moved to privatize laundry services at Mission Memorial, MSA General, Chilliwack General and Fraser Canyon hospitals in 2002 when it awarded a contract to K-Bro Linen Systems.