REGINA – CUPE has received notice that Alberta based K-Bro Linens will be opening its private laundry facility on October 12, 2015. This centralized, for profit plant will replace five regional public laundry facilities and result in the loss of close to 400 jobs.
CUPE Saskatchewan has concerns about the impact this privatization will have on the local economy and on the quality of linen services.
“In Prince Albert the closure of the laundry facility means a loss of $3.6 million a year to the local economy in wages and spin off benefits,” said Tom Graham, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “Similar losses will be felt in Yorkton, Weyburn and Moose Jaw.”
University of Winnipeg economists estimated that the privatization of hospital laundry will mean a net loss in provincial income of up to $42 million over ten years.
Other jurisdictions that have privatized laundry have noticed a decrease in quality, such as moldy and damp linens being returned to facilities.
“CUPE feels strongly that public laundry services deliver high quality products, and we will watch closely to see how privatization impacts the quality of linens,” said Graham.
While the start date for the K-Bro Linens plant has been released, it is still not clear when each public facility will shut down.
“Our members at North Sask Laundry in Prince Albert have been given notice that their last day on the job will be October 10,” added Graham. “Workers at the other facilities deserve as much advance warning.”
CUPE represents laundry workers at public facilities in Yorkton, Weyburn, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert.