Economist says no case for privatizing laundry services

A Simon Fraser University economist says there is no business case for privatizing in-house laundry services.

Debbie Stephenson

A Simon Fraser University economist says there is no business case for privatizing in-house laundry services.

Simon Fraser School of Public Policy economist Dr. Marvin Shaffer reviewed two documents from the Interior Health Authority he obtained through a Freedom of Information request.

The IHA announced last year it would seek bids from the private sector to take over operations of all its in-house laundry services in hospitals in Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops and Nelson as well as services in six smaller communities. Another announcement regarding the IHA’s plans is expected before the end of the year.

In the documents obtained by Shaffer, originating in 2010, the IHA concludes that outsourcing laundry would yield savings compared to keeping the in-house services. According to Shaffer, no valid financial analysis of these options is provided.

Shaffer also indicated there are unexplained discrepancies in the cost of building a new, centralized laundry facility, one of the options being considered by the IHA. The cost of building the facility, outlined in one of the documents, using a private-public partnership was estimated to cost $20 million. Another document said it would cost $10 million if it was built by the private sector.

“There is no explanation of why there should be such a discrepancy, particularly given that in both cases the facility would be built by the private sector,” Shaffer said in a  press released issued by the Hospital Employees Union (HEU).

The analysis was commissioned by the HEU, representing 175 laundry workers who would be impacted by the contracting out of the services.

Local governments in Nelson, Kamloops, Williams Lake, Summerland, Vernon and 100 Mile House have recently passed motions opposing the privatization of services.

Workers took to the streets across the Interior in October including Penticton. A rally was held defending the 17 jobs that laundry services provide in Penticton.

A local laundry worker, Michael Vandegriend, said he would be looking for a new job if the privatization occurs.

“I’m just trying to save local jobs. In the long run it’s cheaper to keep laundry in-house,” Vandegriend told the Western News in October. “I might have to bump someone out of a different department or find another job.”

 

 

Just Posted

Motorcyclist medevaced to Kelowna after collision with deer near Apex Mountain Resort

Male suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries to his neck

PHOTOS: What makes a winning Caesar?

Three local bartenders competed to make the best Caesar in Penticton

Penticton Legion’s grand reopening a success, says president

17 new members have signed up since the reopening Aug. 1

Festival goers at the 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

OHA alumna welcomed as new assistant coach for women’s varsity team

Alyssa MacMillan attended OHA from 2011 to 2016

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

Summerland’s downtown has gone through numerous changes

Main Street has been commercial hub of community for many years

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Okanagan climate advocacy group protests against Tolko

Group to demonstrate outside Vernon head office Monday over plan to log close to water supply

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Most Read