Hospital laundry workers set to lose jobs say Sudbury will be 'paying the price'
Health Sciences North claims hospital will save $500K per year by moving cleaning services to Hamilton
The hospital has maintained the move will save $500,000 each year.
But the employees who are losing their jobs argue that the savings are being found in the wrong way, and that service will suffer.
"We were blindsided," said Gisele Dawson, a laundry worker for more than 20 years, who told CBC News she was getting ready to enter routine contract negotiations last month with Health Sciences North, when she was suddenly given a layoff notice.
Health Sciences North is discontinuing its laundry cleaning contract with Sudbury Hospital Services to work with Mohawk Supply Services out of Hamilton.
That means linens will have to be shipped south for cleaning, then returned to the northeast — something that Dawson said makes no sense.
"This is our work. It shouldn't be going to the south," she said. "They're bleeding out enough jobs in Sudbury."
"Why do they have to take these? To us, we've lost faith. We've lost trust in our community hospital."
Dollar figure too large to ignore: hospital
Officials at Sudbury's hospital have maintained that the decision to switch contractors was not an easy one, and is not a reflection of the management or employees of Sudbury Hospital Services.
Saving half a million dollars is just something the facility can't ignore, said hospital spokesperson Dan Lessard.
"Those are significant savings and that's money that we can put back into patient care," he said.
In an open letter to the community, the hospital said the decision came down to doing what's best for patients.
The switch's effect on patients is part of what worries Dawson and her colleagues, she said, adding that using a cleaning company hundreds of kilometres away will mean things like fewer personal linen inspections, and the potential for cloths to be returned stained.
"At the end of the day Sudbury's going to be the one paying the price, the community," she said.
That's something that Lessard said the hospital doesn't believe will be an issue.
The employees are expected to be laid off by March 31, 2017.