AHS to lay off 428 laundry workers as it looks to outsource service – CBC.ca
Alberta Health Services is looking for contractors to take over its laundry services as the government embarks on a plan to outsource thousands of healthcare-sector jobs to private companies.
AHS issued a request for proposal on Friday seeking a contractor to assume responsibility for its remaining in-house laundry services. The move is expected to result in the layoffs of 428 full-time, part-time and casual workers. AHS and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees both cited the figure.
The proposal comes after Health Minister Tyler Shandro detailed a plan last week by AHS to lay off up to 11,000 employees — mostly in laboratory, cleaning and food services. Those jobs will be outsourced to private companies, a recommendation contained in the Ernst & Young cost-cutting review released in February.
In a news release, AHS said the laundry transition will save money and avoid the cost of replacing its aging infrastructure.
“By reinvesting savings from initiatives such as contracting out laundry services into the health system, we can improve patient care and ensure Albertans are provided with the best possible health care,” Shandro said in a statement Friday.
About two-thirds of laundry services are currently provided by a third party, including in Calgary and Edmonton. AHS said the move will eliminate the need to spend $38 million on upgrades to its laundry infrastructure that would otherwise be immediately necessary.
AHS said it “anticipates there will be some opportunities” for employees to work with a new contractor.
The AUPE, which represents the laundry workers, said the move will upend the lives of its members based at 54 sites across the province.
“Jason Kenney wants to corrode their working conditions, pay, benefits, hours and more,” AUPE vice-president Kevin Barry said. “Privatizing laundry also results in lower quality and sometimes unsafe services as staff are forced to cut corners to create profit for the private owners.”
The deadline for proposals is Dec. 1 and AHS is expected to pick a contractor by mid-March.
Laundry service accounts for $60 million of the health authority’s $15.4-billion budget, according to the Ernst & Young review.
The report said there had been frequent staff safety “near misses and injuries” due to workarounds from equipment breakdowns. Laundry workers’ disabling injury rates are about 60 per cent higher than other AHS staff, according to the review. It estimated AHS would have to spend about $200 million on equipment and infrastructure to maintain operations.
The request for proposal says the laundry contractors will be responsible for onsite pick-up and delivery, processing, replacement, quality control and inventory management.
“A contracted model will enable a sustainable service, while eliminating risk that our outdated laundry infrastructure poses,” said AHS president Dr. Verna Yiu.
In 2015, Sarah Hoffman, health minister in the NDP government, halted an AHS-proposed plan to privatize laundry services outside of Edmonton and Calgary.
U.S. government approves alliance between WestJet and Delta, with conditions – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
WASHINGTON, Wash. – The U.S. Department of Transportation has granted tentative approval of an alliance agreement between WestJet Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
The airlines intend to co-ordinate services, including network planning, pricing, and sales activities.
Capacity is expected to be expanded on some existing routes while some services will be introduced on new routes that will increase travel options to and from Canada.
One condition of approval is the removal of WestJet discount carrier Swoop from the alliance and the selling of 16 slots at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
Canada’s Competition Bureau approved the joint venture in the summer of 2019.
The airline industry has struggled amid a massive drop in traffic following the COVID-19 pandemic.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020
BlackburnNews.com – Canadian retailer to shutter operations – BlackburnNews.com
Canadian retailer to shutter operations
October 23, 2020 6:35pm
A popular women’s fashion chain is the latest Canadian retailer to fall victim to the slumping economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Le Château Inc., which is based in Montreal, announced Friday that it had filed a Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCHA) application to protect its assets, while it liquidates and winds down operations, according to a media release posted on the company’s corporate website.
The chain has 123 stores across Canada, including one at Devonshire Mall in Windsor and one at White Oaks mall in London. The company also maintains a website that serves customers in both Canada and the U.S.
In its release, the company said every effort was made to keep the company afloat.
“The retail industry faced numerous challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the second wave currently hitting our communities across Canada,” the company said. “Its already evident impact on consumer demand for Le Château’s holiday party and occasion wear, which represents the core of our offering, has diminished Le Château’s ability to pursue its activities.”
There were 900 people employed in the chain’s stores, plus 500 at the head office in Montreal.
“We regret the impact this will have on our people and can assure you that we explored all options available to us prior to taking this difficult decision,” the company said. “We also thank the fashion schools and the business partners that have been part of our legacy and wish them continued success in keeping Montréal the fashion centre of Canada. Most importantly, we thank the millions of Canadians whom we have had the privilege of serving over the past six decades.”
There is no word on when the stores will close.
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