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The health authority providing nearly half of BC’s inpatient care is privatizing patient and retail food services. The move will affect about 1,000 HEU/CUPE members. HEU says the scheme will hurt food quality and safety, and eliminate well-paid, stable jobs – and could cost the government more.

The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority has also awarded a lucrative laundry contract to US-controlled K-Bro Linen Systems despite the company’s short but soiled history in the Fraser Valley.

The VCHA awarded the contract even though K-Bro has yet to build a BC laundry facility. The company currently ships dirty laundry from four Fraser Valley hospitals to Calgary for cleaning.

In the company’s few short months with the Fraser Health Authority, K-Bro’s spotty track record – which includes cleaning soiled birthing sheets in household-type washing machines in a Chilliwack seniors’ care facility – demonstrates that it’s not up to doing specialized hospital laundry. Last November, a Chilliwack newspaper revealed that the company had been operating without a business license.

Meanwhile the publicly owned and operated Tilbury Regional Hospital Laundry was not given an opportunity to bid for the work. The Tilbury laundry is an efficient facility with skilled and experienced workers and capacity to expand.