West Kelowna council asked to oppose contracting out laundry jobs at KGH

HEU plans to make a presentation to West Kelowna council on Tuesday.

In it’s bid to try and convince Interior Health to stop a plan to contract out laundry services at hospitals across the southern Interior, including at Kelowna General Hospital, the Hospital Employees’ Union is now trying to enlist the support of West Kelona city council.

Representatives of the union will make a presentation to West Kelowna council Tuesday during council’s regularly scheduled public meeting.

A similar bid to present to Kelowna city council at a public meeting was rejected earlier this year because Kelowna’s bylaws concerning how council meetings are run do not allow for public presentations. The union said it did,however, plan to meet privately with Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran.

On Tuesday, the HEU’s third vice-president Ken Robinson and Kelowna General Hospital laundry worker Jessica Guthrie will make the presentation to West Kelowna city council, urging its the mayor and councillors to join other Valley politicians in speaking out against IH’s plan to privatize hospital laundry services in 11 communities.

The union says a total of 175 “decent, family-supporting” jobs are at stake across the health region, 28 of them at KGH. The union fears the laundry jobs will be contracted out to a company either in the Lower Mainland or Alberta.

As a result, it has been waging a very public campaign to bring attention to the issue over the last six months.

So far, according to the union, local governments in Nelson, Kamloops, Vernon, Summerland, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House have raised concerns about privatizing their hospital laundry services and the possibility of subsequent job losses in their communities.

HEU laundry workers and their supporters have circulated a petition that’s attracted more than 12,700 signatures. The petition was tabled in the B.C. legislature in May.