First collective agreement awarded for hospital cleaning and dietary staff on Vancouver Island



    BURNABY, March 28 /CNW/ - After nearly a year of bargaining, more than
700 HEU members on Vancouver Island have a first collective agreement with
their British employer, Compass Group.
    The contract - awarded by a Labour Relations Board-appointed arbitrator
Tuesday - covers cleaners and dietary staff at several Vancouver Island Health
Authority facilities.
    Hospital Employees' Union secretary-business manager Judy Darcy says that
while wages are still lower than before government-mandated privatization, the
contract includes modest gains for workers and their families and will bring
more stability to the workplace.
    "This first contract is a measure of recognition and respect for critical
roles these workers play in providing a safe and healthy environment for
patients," says Darcy.
    Under the three-year collective agreement, most workers will see wages
rise by 24 per cent by the expiry of the agreement in September 2008. This
includes an immediate wage hike of 14 per cent that is retroactive to last
September.
    And it establishes wage parity by September 2008 with more than 3,000
other workers employed by Compass Group, Aramark and Sodexho at hospitals on
the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast and in the Fraser Valley.
    HEU was certified to represent the workers in December 2005 after a
lengthy organizing drive. Bargaining began in April 2006 and in October 2006,
the workers gave their bargaining committee a 96 per cent strike mandate.
    The union subsequently applied for mediation/arbitration under the Labour
Code and the LRB appointed Stan Lanyon as the arbitrator in December 2006.
    Since 2003, more than 3,700 staff employed by foreign multinationals
under contract to four separate health authorities have joined HEU. And with
yesterday's award, all these workers are now covered by first collective
agreements.





For further information:

For further information: Mike Old, HEU communications director, (604)
828-6771 (cell)

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Hospital Employees' Union

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