The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

– Planning for Profit, Not Public Health

Nov 10, 2014

The fight against the Ebola virus requires meticulous and complicated sanitation precautions. Any organization intent on stopping the spread of Ebola would want experienced workers to be their front line defense.

So what is the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) doing?

They plan to lay off housekeepers, some with over 30 years of experience! Over 500 DMC workers – with irreplaceable collective knowledge about cleaning and infection control – would be thrown out.

The for-profit owners of the DMC – Tenet Healthcare – are planning to outsource janitorial services – to a for-profit company, Sodexo. The planned start date is December 1, 2014.

Sodexo already handles janitorial services at Detroit Public Schools. Employees there say Sodexo shorts schools on cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and paper towels. THIS is the company to be put in charge of sanitation in a hospital system serving Detroit, much of Michigan, and drawing patients from around the world!?

Under the DMC’s plan, laid off workers will be “allowed” to re-apply for their old jobs. Sodexo won’t say what the new wages and benefits will be, so the assumption is unspeakable cuts.

Proposed cuts to pay and benefits will increase the safety of corporate profits at Sodexo and Tenet. But ripping apart a skilled workforce and turning housekeeping into a revolving-door-job, would endanger public health under normal circumstances and certainly in the face of serious epidemics like Ebola.