Letter: Clark has little time for laundry workers facing job cuts

When Clark was an MLA she voted in favour of tearing up contracts and 15 per cent pay cuts.

To the editor:

On April 2, 2015 B.C.’s Premier Christy Clark went live on AM 1150’s early edition. She only had 10 minutes to spare and did not take any questions at that time [regarding hospital laundry services to be outsourced].

She also did not quite have her facts straight. If you are a member of the public and not directly involved the premier sounds very convincing. She was quoted that the potential 175 jobs that would be lost won’t be all bad.

“In many cases where health authorities have done this, those members who used to work for the public authority end up getting hired by the private operators, so many have ended up working in just about the same jobs with a different employer”

This is not the case. Thanks to Gordon Campbell’s government, they used Bill 29 to tear up the B.C. Hospital Employees Union contract. This law opened up the door for privatization and contracting out thousands of jobs. At this time Christy Clark was an MLA and she voted in favour of tearing up contracts and 15 per cent pay cuts.

These private companies are not obligated by any means to hire any public health care employees.  Those who may be hired would also take a major pay cut to minimum wage, not a livable wage, with no benefits and no pension. Furthermore the laundry would end up being trucked to either the Lower Mainland or to Alberta. The only way those who will lose their jobs would have a chance to be hired would be to relocate. Why should we have to leave our homes?

With the collapse in oil prices Clark has been quoted saying: “…my call to them (oil workers) is come home, come home, come home to your province where you were born and you want to raise your children.” She wants B.C. residents to come home and yet she is prepared to possibly send 175 B.C. jobs to Alberta.

Carole James of the NDP once said “B.C. workers and families shouldn’t have to run from our province.”

Ms. Clark has also stated that she feels disrespected and not taken seriously as she is a woman in politics and feels a dismissive tone from the opposition. Some 80 per cent of the 175 laundry jobs belong to women. Most of them are single women, single mothers and without these jobs these women could end up losing their homes.

Ms. Clark also stated that the health authority will make the best choice for taxpayers.

The best choice for taxpayers is to leave our hospital laundry in our hospitals. This is the best choice for our environment as no one wants to see more air pollution due to truck exhaust or more garbage in our landfills due to the use of more disposables.

No one who is hospitalized wants the added worry of infection due to linen not being sterilized properly.

No one wants to see decent paying local jobs sent away from the Interior of the province.

I was born and raised here and I want to raise my two young children here—without my job this won’t be possible.

It is time for the residents of B.C. to take a stand and have your voices heard. Stop cutting back on our health care and stop cutting back on B.C. jobs. It is time to protect our hospital laundries. Keep hospital laundry in our hospitals.

Jessica Guthrie, Kelowna


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