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Over 300 people attended a noon-hour barbecue held last week to show their support for health care laundry workers in Prince Albert who face certain job loss as a result of the Saskatchewan government’s controversial plan to privatize health care laundry. Approximately 100 laundry workers in Prince Albert, members of CUPE Local 3736, and more than 300 workers province-wide will lose their jobs within two years as health care laundry is handed over to a for-profit, Alberta-based corporation – K-Bro.

The Mayor of Prince Albert, Greg Dionne, expressed his disappointment with the government Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) who represent Prince Albert in the provincial legislature.  “Don’t give up the fight,” the Mayor told the gathered crowd.  “We’re behind you.  We deserve to keep local jobs.”  Five of nine members of Prince Albert’s City Council were also in attendance to show their support.

It’s a great feeling to know we have the city’s support,” said Anita Labossiere, President of CUPE Local 3736.  “We will keep fighting the misguided decision to privatize health care laundry.  We will keep fighting for our jobs.”

In addition to devastating the Prince Albert economy and families, Labossiere noted that there are other concerns with the privatization of Saskatchewan’s health care laundry services provided to hospitals and long-term care facilities. Patient care will be placed at risk as health regions lose direct control over laundry. Fair wages will be replaced with poverty wages; and, tax dollars will be funneled out of the province and taken away from health care to boost corporate profits.

 “It’s shocking that so many families will see their jobs disappear because of privatization,” said Courtni, a laundry worker at the publicly-funded North Sask Laundry facility in Prince Albert slated for closure. Courtni attended the barbecue with her 16-month old daughter who was wearing a t-shirt that said: “Save my mommy’s job.”

Many families are dependent on the income provided by their jobs at our laundry facility,” added Curtis, a fellow laundry worker and member of the CUPE Local 3736 executive.  “Many losing their jobs are single mothers.  Some families, including my own, have both husband and wife working at the facility. Whole families are taking a big hit because of the government’s privatization.”

Saskatchewan residents are asked to contact their MLA to express opposition to the privatization of health care laundry. Communities affected include: Prince Albert, Yorkton, Moose Jaw and Weyburn.

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