For Immediate Release – March 9, 2012
Saskatoon – SEIU-West members who work at the Central Laundry facility in Saskatoon attended a meeting today to hear about plans for the future of laundry services in Saskatchewan. 3sHealth (Shared Services Saskatchewan Health) is starting a review process that is hoped to be complete by the end of summer of 2012. Andrew Wills, CEO of 3sHealth, promised there will be consultation with the unions involved.
“We certainly believe that the result of this process will include a laundry facility in Saskatoon,” said Renny Woytowich, a member of SEIU-West who works at the Central Laundry facility. “We already have the qualified staff and we are geographically central to all the other regions.”
“A ready, steady supply of clean, sanitary laundry is essential to maintaining high quality patient and resident care in this province,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “Saskatoon Health Region (SHR) provides an ever expanding level of service to the list of facilities, including the new Children’s hospital, in central Saskatchewan that will need to have reliable, clean laundry services.”
Before it closed on November 28, 2011, Central Laundry processed approximately six million pounds of laundry per year. The staff at Central Laundry facility had kept the facility open and operating with worn and out-of-date equipment through previous incidents and facility reviews in 2003 and 2007. The latest incident – when a ceiling-mounted hydraulic hoist suffered a catastrophic failure on November 5, 2011, resulting in almost 3000 pounds of laundry falling and narrowly missing staff who were working on the wash floor – was too severe to overcome.
Currently it is costing the government an additional $300,000 per month to contract out this work. “Keeping the laundry services in public control will keep the costs down,” continued Cape. “It’s not the concept that’s broken, it’s the facility.”
SEIU-West represents approximately twelve thousand working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in healthcare, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors.
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For more information, contact:
Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator – 306.652.1011 ext. 2250
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