Questions remain with laundry deal

Tyler Clarke
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A contract agreement has been reached between K-Bro Linens Systems and 3sHealth, clearing the Alberta-based company to take on Saskatchewan’s health system laundry.


Prince Albert Carlton MLA Darryl Hickie joins Prince Albert Northcote MLA Victoria Jurgens in hearing CUPE 3736 president Anita Labossiere’s concerns during a Saskatchewan Party barbecue in August, during which Premier Brad Wall also met with Labossiere. 

This was news to CUPE Local 3736 president Anita Labossiere, who was somewhat taken aback after learning that a press release had been issued on Friday morning.

After taking some time to take in the documents, she was left with one burning question:

How much longer will she and her almost 100 co-workers have jobs at North Sask Laundry in Prince Albert?

“Because they aren’t being very specific about dates … people are going into work every day and you don’t know when they’re going to say, ‘This is your notice,’” Labossiere said.

“They’re saying ‘up to two years,’ but if you read everything that they’re saying it could happen a lot sooner, and that’s where their being upfront and honest is very important.”

Morale is down at North Sask Laundry, Labossiere said, noting that when North Sask Laundry closes, their jobs will be over -- a comment counter to what was presented by 3sHealth earlier his year when they said that there would be opportunity to transition into other positions within the health region.

“There is no transitioning into other positions – that would be a whole ’nother story for us,” she said. “We are losing our jobs, 100 per cent.

“Prince Albert, because we are a separate local from the hospital, that is just not something that will happen.”

The best they can do is give North Sask Laundry employees special consideration when they apply for jobs -- although no new positions are projected to be created.

Aside from the ambiguity related to the closure of the province’s existing laundry facilities, Labossiere said little else sticks out in the information released to the press on Friday.

The Daily Herald last updated readers on North Sask Laundry’s impending closure in August, when Labossiere voiced her concerns at a Sask. Party barbecue in Prince Albert.

Because they aren’t being very specific about dates … people are going into work every day and you don’t know when they’re going to say, ‘This is your notice.’ Anita Labossiere

During the barbecue, Labossiere spoke with Premier Brad Wall, Prince Albert Northcote MLA Victoria Jurgens and Prince Albert Carlton MLA Darryl Hickie.

At the close of their discussion, Hickie offered Labossiere a formal meeting -- a promise he followed through on.

Labossiere said that she met with Hickie, Jurgens and 3sHealth CEO Andrew Will on Sept. 3, during which some -- albeit not all -- of her questions were answered.

3sHealth works to provide the province with shared services, of which linen services is one of many.

K-Bro Linen Systems Inc. is a private Alberta-based company that is planning on opening a central laundry facility in Regina within the next two years, as well as two smaller distribution hubs in Saskatoon and Prince Albert.

In total, they’ve estimated that they will employ about 150 people.

Current laundry services is done through the public sector, with central laundries in Regina, Prince Albert, Weyburn, Yorkton and Moose Jaw.

An additional centre in Saskatoon closed in 2011 due to a structural failure.

According to 3sHealth, there are approximately 220 full time equivalent positions and approximately 350 employees at the current central facilities -- a figure Labossiere has called into question, noting that there are about 100 people at Prince Albert’s North Sask Laundry alone.

The government’s decision to go with K-Bro Linens has sparked debate in Saskatchewan this year when it comes to the government’s switch toward public private partnerships (P3s). 

Click HERE for a pros and cons list the Daily Herald compiled in August. 

Organizations: Prince Albert, Daily Herald, Sask. Party K-Bro Linen Systems

Geographic location: North Sask Laundry, Regina, Saskatoon Yorkton Moose Jaw Saskatchewan

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Recent comments

  • Cheryl Stadnichuk
    December 16, 2013 - 11:26

    3sHealth is claiming $93 million in savings over 10 years but their own analysis says that a public two-plant option would have saved $73 million over 10 years. Why is the government sacrificing hundreds of rural jobs to save $2 million a year? The public sector options considered by 3sHealth did not include keeping North Sask Laundry open. If the two plant public option had included NSL, wouldn't this have cost less than one private for-profit plant run by K-Bro Linens?

  • BT
    December 14, 2013 - 12:20

    The gov't is planning on saving $98 million by closing the laundries...but will they really be saving that when the current staff are on employment insurance for an extended period??? Typical backward thinking.