No money for rent or food on the table and the loss of self-respect and pride that come with holding down a family-sustaining job. These are all the personal impacts of job loss that one Sudbury Hospital Services laundry worker losing her job in the New Year is sharing in a holiday card soon to be delivered to Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault.
“Everything I’ve worked for in the last 11 years has been pulled out from under me. I came to the conclusion that I could no longer afford to live in my home or continue to pay my bills,” writes the single mother of two. She goes on to say, she will no longer be able to help her daughter with college tuition and has made the painful decision to ask her 80-year-old mother if they can move into her tiny house.
The hospital laundry workers are going public with how it feels to lose their jobs because of provincial Liberal government policies. They will hold a media conference on Friday, December 16, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. outside Glenn Thibeault’s office at 555 Barry Downe Road. They will share with media the content of holiday cards before they are presented to Thibeault.
After meeting with them once, shortly after Health Sciences North (HSN) announced it was taking its dirty linen contract to a hospital laundry in Hamilton, Thibeault has made no effort to advocate for the laundry workers’ jobs.
“We feel like he doesn’t really care about what’s happened to us on a personal level. Dozens of us are losing our jobs because of the policies of his government to consolidate hospital services to larger centres in southern Ontario. You would think he would show some empathy and interest of the personal impacts on us and our families. Instead we get silence. We want him to know directly who we are and what the bad outcomes on our families are because our jobs have been cut. It’s our gift to him. Perhaps we can restore his humanity by sharing how we feel,” says Gisele Dawson, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 2841.
Mingled in a personal story about her son’s challenges and need for expensive medications following a brain tumor, another single mom of teenage boys, appeals to the MPP to “please help us keep our jobs in the North.” She also tells Thibeault of the meticulous quality control and inspection process at the hospital laundry that includes returning wedding rings, keys and other personal affects left in the dirty laundry. “We check every pocket” of doctors’ uniforms and “we send their lost items back to them” she highlights in explaining why using a local hospital laundry also means workers care.
The provincial Liberal government “has threatened Health Sciences North with the loss of $500,000 a year from its budget unless the hospital pulled its business from the Sudbury laundry and moved the work and the jobs to Hamilton. Mr Thibeault promised, more than a month ago to look into this situation. We are calling on him today to use his influence to have the Ministry of Health change course on this and allow the work and the jobs to remain in Sudbury. He really needs to take action to save these 39 jobs for Sudbury,” says Sharon Richer secretary-treasurer of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE).