Sudbury Hospital Services laundry staff who today received layoff notices say there is nothing for local hospital officials to crow about publicly, when 36 mostly female staff are losing their jobs.
Last week in the local media, senior hospital staff “patted themselves on the back for doing the provincial government’s bidding to cut budgets. But all they’ve all done in getting rid of our jobs, is made us casualties of provincial budget cuts and service mergers that kill jobs,” says Gisele Dawson president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local union representing the laundry workers. Further says Dawson, “it is highly unlikely labour costs will be cut, since our wages are modest and comparable to the laundry service they are shipping our jobs to in southern Ontario.”
Across northern Ontario good jobs that help sustain families and the local economy are disappearing. Indeed, some of these same hospital laundry jobs have already disappeared once, the first time from North Bay, more than nine years ago. North Bay laundry workers lost their jobs when the Nipissing area laundry was closed and merged with the laundry in Sudbury and those jobs moved down the highway.
Now those same jobs are being axed and being sent down the road, yet again, this time to the Hamilton area.
“Keeping local jobs in Sudbury should be a priority for local MPP Glenn Thibeault. We want him to stand up for us and keep our jobs here,” says Nicole Mallette vice-president of the union local. “We are expecting his support to keep our jobs here in Sudbury. We will mobilize to get the community on side and fight to keep our jobs.”
A rally at the Sudbury Hospital Services site is scheduled for next week and other community events are being planned.
In addition to community mobilizing, the Sudbury laundry workers are filing grievances under their current contract “which technically has been breached,” says Michael Hurley president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE).
“CUPE,” Hurley says “promises a spirited defense of these workers. The economic and environmental impact of this decision are not acceptable. This is a decision engineered by the province and, one that MPP Glenn Thibeault must take responsibility for. We know that within Cabinet he has the stature to get this decision reversed.”