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Another reprieve for Interior Health laundry workers

Jennifer Whiteside, spokesperson for the Hospital Employees Union, at a rally in Kelowna.
November 25, 2015 - 3:20 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - The Hospital Employees’ Union is welcoming news that Interior Health is delaying its decision to contract out laundry services.

New Interior Health President and CEO Chris Mazurkewich says in a release today, Nov. 25, not to expect a decision before March 2016. He’s been on the job less than a month and wants to work with the review team before making a recommendation to the board of directors.

“This process has taken, unfortunately, longer than anyone anticipated, and I want to take the time to understand all of the complexities around this significant issue,” he says. “I know that this may be frustrating to many of those who are anticipating a decision soon, and I appreciate the impact on our staff for the length of this process. 

The union is holding out hope the delay works in its favour. In a release today, spokesperson Jennifer Whiteside says the union sees no business case justification for moving to an outsourced laundry cleaning service.

"This in-house laundry operation has set the bar high in terms of productivity, efficiency and quality standards, according to the IHA itself," Whiteside says. "We need the IHA to be a champion of protecting family-supporting jobs and a clearly well-run service in their region. That would be a win-win situation for everybody."

The health authority is looking to save money by contracting out laundry services but it could mean the loss of 168 full- and part-time positions paying $18 to nearly $20 per hour around the Thompson-Okanagan, including at Kelowna General Hospital, Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, Vernon Jubilee Hospital and Penticton Regional Hospital.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones at or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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