Exportation of jobs costs local health region

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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The implications of last summer’s exportation of 29 temporary full-time equivalent positions are continuing to hamper Prince Albert. 

North Sask Laundry employees, their family and supporters are seen protesting the loss of 29 temporary full-time equivalent positions at the facility in May of this year. 

The implications of last summer’s exportation of 29 temporary full-time equivalent positions are continuing to hamper Prince Albert.

Effective Nov. 1, North Sask. Laundry increased their rates by four cents per pound, to $1.01, a move that affects one of their biggest clients, the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region (PAHPR). 

Factoring in the PAHPR’s 2010/11 laundry load of 1,963,730 pounds, if implemented for a full year, the cost difference between the two rates is $78,549.

The increase reverses a four-cent decrease that passed on April 1 -- a bulk savings North Sask. Laundry was able to offer after taking on Saskatoon Health Region (SHR) laundry.

After their laundry facility broke down in November, 2011, the SHR had to begin shipping their laundry elsewhere, with a portion going to North Sask. Laundry.

By March of this year, North Sask. Laundry had hired 49 people to take on the added load, including 29 temporary full-time equivalent positions.

By May, the SHR began shipping laundry to a facility in Alberta, with SHR vice-president of finance and corporate services Nilesh Kavia citing a savings of $600,000 as their key motivation.

“The people making those decision should keep in mind that Saskatchewan is known as a labour province, and we want to keep our labourers working,” CUPE Local 3736 president Anita Labossiere said.

“I do hope they keep in mind that they should keep these jobs in Saskatchewan.”

Labossiere, a 10-year employee of North Sask. Laundry, has represented her co-workers for the past five years as union president, and found this year’s shipping of jobs out-of-province a shocking and unexpected development. 

The people making those decision should keep in mind that Saskatchewan is known as a labour province, and we want to keep our labourers working. CUPE Local 3736 president Anita Labossiere

3sHealth –- a non-profit non-government corporation that provides province-wide shared services -- is currently reviewing Saskatchewan health-care services, including laundry.

Labossiere said that all of the data related to laundry services will be presented to the 3sHealth board some time this month.

“A formal recommendation will be taken to the decision-making bodies for the final approval, which is (provincial) cabinet, and a formal announcement of a laundry decision will be made in January of 2013, and then implementation will begin.

“I heard that it should take about two years to implement all of their findings and recommendations.”

Until then, it’s the waiting game for not only North Sask. Laundry – a non-profit government-funded organization -- but laundry centres across the province, which Labossiere said all risk having their laundry shipped out of province.

“We have a total of 75 employees; 35 are permanent full time, and the rest are either part time or casual, and there are six out of scope, like office staff,” Labossiere said.

“In a town like Prince Albert, you put 75 people out of work, that’s a big hardship to the economy.”

North Sask. Laundry began taking on on Lloydminster laundry service this week, bumping their annual load from 5.3 million pounds to 5.8, and adding to employees’ shift time, as well as potentially creating 2.4 full-time equivalent positions. 

Organizations: Prince Albert

Geographic location: North Sask., Saskatchewan, Alberta Lloydminster

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