Column: Lost in the bedding

A job is a job, right? Well, apparently not. We pull out the stops.

A job is a job, right?

Well, apparently not. We pull out the stops (and rightly so) when we think hundreds of jobs in our community might disappear.

We don’t always notice when jobs go one or two at a time.

The Interior Health Authority is planning to disappear jobs by privatizing laundry services at its 11 acute care hospitals. In Williams Lake that means the loss of two full time, one 3/4 time and a number of casual persons. IHA’s rationale is that it will cost less to ship the laundry out to a private contractor than it would to replace aging laundry equipment.

It seems strange that all the equipment at every hospital is wearing out. Doesn’t IHA replace the washers and dryers when necessary? If not why not?

But, aha, the laundry workers are members of HEU, and our provincial government isn’t crazy about unions. Surely that can’t have anything to do with the decision, but regardless it doesn’t seem right to lose jobs to other cities (or provinces).

Whatever, IHA is talking about money, not services and I for one doubt a company in another city will give the same attention to little things like local staff do. Like, when a patient’s dentures get lost in the bedding, how will an out-of-town laundry know where they belong? Do the decision makers even know exactly what all the laundry workers do? I’m not convinced that we get better service from IHA than we did from the local health boards.

Kamloops and Nelson councils are backing the workers. It will be interesting to see if our politicians back ours.

***

The late Ray Arnold , a U.S. sustainability activist, said waste was “anything we did not get right the first time.” That sounds like as good a definition as any. It can apply to everything from a householder buying too many veggies to cost over-runs of mega projects.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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