Sudbury

Sudbury laundry workers to be laid off after hospital strikes new deal with southern Ontario company

Dozens of laundry workers in Sudbury have been handed layoff notices. All 36 employees are with Sudbury Hospital Services, a local business that does laundry for Health Sciences North.

Workers to file grievances as union says contract has been breached

Health Sciences North has switched its laundry services from a Sudbury company to one in Hamilton, putting 36 people out of work. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Dozens of laundry workers in Sudbury have been handed layoff notices.

All 36 employees are with Sudbury Hospital Services, a local business that does laundry for Health Sciences North.

The slated layoffs come as the hospital is opting instead to do business with a company called Mohawk Shared Services in Hamilton. According to Joe Pilon, the hospital's chief operating officer, Health Sciences North expects to save $500,000 per year.

"The issue is [Sudbury Hospital Services] have this big laundry that has great capacity to do a lot more laundry than they have, so it's the overhead costs that are only being passed to one customer," said Pilon.

The company used to provide laundry services for all four former hospitals in Greater Sudbury from its York Street location, but that need dwindled when three of them merged to form Sudbury Regional Hospital in 2010, Pilon said.

New model could have a 'huge impact' on the community

The union representing the workers is saying the cutbacks are unlikely due to a labour cost issue, as workers' wages in Sudbury are comparable to laundry service employees in southern Ontario.

In addition, CUPE local president Gisele Dawson told CBC News that the laundry will have to be trucked daily between Sudbury and Hamilton.

"They've asked for one round trip per day for seven days a week, hopefully they can make it in 12 hours," she said.

"Because if they don't, due to weather, or accidents when roads are shut down, that's going to have a huge impact on our community here at the hospital."

Workers are filing grievances under their current contract, which the union said has been breached.

A rally at the Sudbury Hospital Services site has been scheduled for next week, in addition to other community events.

now