Rural communities to be hit hard by health-care privatization plan
EDMONTON – AUPE received written notice today (Monday, Feb. 10) from Alberta Health Services (AHS) of its “contracting out initiative” of all hospital laundry services outside Edmonton and Calgary.
An “anticipated timeframe” included sending out a Request for Proposals (RFP) in May and the awarding of a contract for November 2020.
“Rural communities are already suffering from an economy that continues to struggle, the privatization of laundry will affect 275 workers – and their families – in 54 communities,” says AUPE Vice-President Susan Slade.
Some of the communities listed by AHS include Athabasca, Barrhead, Canmore, Claresholm, Cold Lake, Devon, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, High River, Ponoka and Strathmore. Larger centres including Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer will also be impacted.
“When a public service is privatized, we know good jobs turn into low-wage gigs, and it costs more in the long run. We know this from the failure of laundry privatization in Saskatchewan and British Columbia,” says Slade.
In the letter notifying AUPE of the plan to contract laundry facilities, AHS says it’s primary rationale is related to the need to spend $35 million to $40 million to update infrastructure.
“This is just one more way for this government to hand over our money and assets to already wealthy corporate interests,” says Slade.
“Our members have fought against laundry privatization before. Today is no different. We’re gathering our strength, and we’re planning to take action to fight back in our communities. Stay tuned.”
For more information, please contact:
Celia Shea AUPE communications officer, 780-720-8122