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Hospital misleading the public, supporters of hospital laundry workers say

Friends of the Sudbury Hospital Laundry Workers say documents show Health Sciences North not being forthcoming about role in Sudbury Hospital Services
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A group calling itself the Friends of the Sudbury Hospital Laundry Workers say it has uncovered documents showing Health Sciences North is attempting to mislead the public when it comes to the hospital's role in Sudbury Hospital Services.

A group calling itself the Friends of the Sudbury Hospital Laundry Workers say it has uncovered documents showing Health Sciences North is attempting to mislead the public when it comes to the hospital's role in Sudbury Hospital Services.

Health Sciences North confirmed on Oct. 5, 2016, it plans to switch to a different provider for its laundry services, based in southern Ontario, in a bid expected to save $500,000 a year. In a written statement, Joe Pilon, Health Sciences North's senior vice-president and chief operating officer, said Mohawk Shared Services will provide laundry services for the hospital starting in April 2017.

The company, with a head office in Burlington and facilities in Hamilton, provides laundry services for hospitals across the province, and will provide laundry services for Health Sciences North at “a price substantially lower than Sudbury Hospital Services” due to its larger scale, Pilon said. 

The 36 laundry workers facing job loss aren't going down without a fight and have been rallying for months in an attempt to fight the move by the hospital. The Canadian Union of Public Employees even commissioned a poll that found 90 per cent of Sudbury residents felt the hospital made the wrong decision, and should keep receiving laundry services locally.

In January, concerned citizens formed Friends of the Sudbury Hospital Laundry Workers to advocate for those losing their jobs. The group claims it has 1,600 members. The Friends say they requested to address the HSN board of directors at the board's March 14 meeting, but were turned down.

The group planned to question the board regarding information it says it uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act request. Instead, it's going to be making the information public at a press conference at 10:30 a.m. this morning at the main branch of the public library.

"In light of documents received through a Freedom of Information Request, SHS Board members appear to have acted not in the best interests of the organization," said Beth Mairs, the founder of the Friends of the Sudbury Hospital Laundry Workers. "HSN's strategy to mislead the public by downplaying their control and role in SHS is revealed." 

Also on hand for this morning's press conference will be Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini and Mathieu Labonte, a member of the Friends group, who will share ideas on keeping the laundry work in Sudbury. 

Stay with Sudbury.com for more on this developing story.



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