As the clock ticks to the end of March layoff date for 38 Sudbury hospital laundry workers, “all we have is silence from the hospital and stall tactics from our MPP. But we aren’t going way and we know we have community support behind us to have these layoffs reversed,” say laundry workers gearing up for a rally this Wednesday, February 1 at 12:00 noon at Health Sciences North (HSN), on the corner of Paris Street and Paris Crescent, entrance.

A Facebook group ( ‘Friends of the Sudbury Hospital Laundry Workers’ includes several hundred Sudbury-based supporters. Many of the posts on the site are calling on the Sudbury hospital to reverse its decision to contract the hospital’s linen to a laundry in southern Ontario. “Shop locally…’wash locally…supporting our neighbours and our city” reads one of the site postings. “get Southern Ontario to ship their hospital laundry North to Sudbury to create jobs here”, says another. Others question HSN claim that outsourcing to a Hamilton hospital laundry, with similar wage rates and a near 900 km round trip for trucks, will cut costs.

“A lot of people who’ve reached out to us think the rationale of the supposed cut to costs, just doesn’t add up. On behalf of the laundry workers we represent, I want to say a heartfelt thank you for all the kindness and solidarity so many in Sudbury and on the social site have shown us,” says Gisele Dawson president of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 2847.

At recent separate meetings, both HSN and Sudbury MPP Glen Thibeault failed to provide any concrete commitments to reverse the outsourcing of laundry jobs to an out-of-Sudbury provider.

“We’re challenging our MPP who is the provincial government’s northern Ontario regional minister to stand up for jobs in our community and get these job cuts rescinded. Our community can’t afford any more stall tactics from him and it seems to us he’s just trying to run the clock down to the end of March when the layoff is final. As for the hospital, they know that the right thing to do is keep the work local. Sudburians who have provided millions of dollars in fundraising support and through their municipal taxes, deserve the hospital’s loyalty in keeping these jobs right here,” says Sharon Richer secretary-treasurer of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) and a resident of Sudbury.