HEU rallies against privatizing IHA laundry service

By Tanya Cronin
February 29, 2016 - 4:36pm Updated: February 29, 2016 - 5:29pm

KAMLOOPS —  Members of the Hospital Employees Union rallied outside a seniors care home in Kamloops this afternoon.  

Several dozen HEU members gathered on the lawn outside of Ponderosa Lodge, as the decision to privatize laundry services across the Interior Health Authority looms. If IHA decides to contract out, 175 jobs at 11 facilities throughout the Interior, would be eliminated. Many of those, right here in Kamloops.     

"It's 19 FTE here, so that's a good chunk and we are worried and plus the service is working really well. IHA itself has acknowledged that it's a well run efficient service, why would we think of contracting it out, we're not quite sure. Tommorow (Tuesday) the board is meeting which is why we're Rallying today, to keep the issue at the forefront and also thank, the help we've gotten and the public support especially here in Kamloops because city council has endorsed the motion that went to the IHA board, so it's been really good in terms of the support we've received from the community," says Donisa Bernardo, HEU Financial Secretary.

A decision on contracting out hospital laundry services is expected to be delivered in March. Last year IHA announced it would seek bids from the private sector to take over all or part of its laundry operations at 5 major hospitals in Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Penticton and Nelson, along with services in 6 smaller communities. However, IHA has delayed its decision several times.

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