Sudbury City Hall

City wades into hospital's laundry worker dispute

Sudbury city council has decided to get involved in a decision made by Health Sciences North.

Councillor Fern Cormier says city has ‘a right to question’ hospital’s decision to lay off laundry workers

Councillor Al Sizer said the city shouldn't be getting involved in HSN's decision to ship its laundry to southern Ontario, putting Sudbury laundry workers out of work. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada )

Sudbury city council has decided to get involved in a decision made by Health Sciences North.

Last fall, the hospital decided to change providers for its laundry services —  a move that will result in the layoff of about 38 people.

After heated debate last night, council approved a motion —  which wasn't on the night's agenda— to compile an economic impact evaluation of the decision.

The plan is to use city money and time to create the report.

Council will then send the report to provincial decision makers and Health Sciences North with the hope of helping the laid off workers.

Councillor Al Sizer, the lone vote against the motion, said he wasn't comfortable voting on another organization's decisions.

"I really feel for them and I think we should let them know we're not happy with their decision," Sizer said, "but I think we've got enough to deal with without going after other institutions in our community."
City councillor Fern Cormier says taxpayers have the right to question HSN's decision to ship its laundry to southern Ontario, since taxpayers helps fund the hospital. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Councillor Fern Cormier said that taxpayers should be questioning HSN's decisions, since they help fund the hospital.

"Yes, we have a right to question [HSN's decision,]" Cormier said, "what I'm going to suggest here is that having a little bit of meat to put on the bone from our economic development department in that letter with the respect to the impact that it's going to have on our community."

'Shipping our laundry down south doesn't make any sense:' CUPE

CUPE representative Kathy Donnelly said she thinks council did the right thing by listening to concerned voices in the city.

"I think this speaks volume to where we are politically," Donnelly said, "we should be pursuing these jobs to stay here. There are jobs here, and shipping our laundry down south doesn't make any sense."

With files from Samantha Samson


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