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WEYBURN, SK - Residents across the Sun Country Health Region are petitioning the board to rethink its plan to close or reduce laundry facilities in nine communities and abolish 28 jobs.

Over 2,000 people have signed a petition, urging the board to scrap its proposed cuts to laundry services. And more signed petitions continue to arrive each week, says CUPE 5999 President Vicky ODell, whose union sponsored the petition.

Were really pleased with the tremendous response to our petition, says ODell. Theres a strong feeling among residents across our health region that these cuts will cause far too much pain for laundry workers and their communities for far too little financial gain.

The CUPE President says she expects the board will save only about $100,00 a year from these cuts. When you consider the boards budget is $87 million, its just a drop in a very large wash bucket, she says.

These savings represent small change for the health region, but the incomes from the laundry jobs represent survival for our members and their families.

She noted a recent study by the Centre for Rural Studies and Enrichment in Saskatchewan confirmed that these types of public sector jobs are vital to the rural economy and a major source of income for women.

ODell remains hopeful the Sun Country Board will reconsider its decision. Cutting so many services and jobs for so little savings really cant be justified, she says, especially now that the provincial government has promised more funding for health regions.

Health workers and other concerned residents plan to raise these concerns with the Sun Country Board when its meets in Estevan on October 25. The completed petition will be presented to the board in November.

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For more information contact: Vicky ODell at 306 861-7013 or 306 842-1559