First collective agreement awarded by arbitrator for members at Compass/PHSA

Wage parity with Sodexho and Aramark by September, 2008
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Labour Relations Board-appointed mediator-arbitrator Don Munroe has issued his decision on the terms of a first collective agreement between HEU and Compass Group for the 250 members working at Provincial Health Services Authority facilities.

The three-year collective agreement expires September 30, 2008 at which time wages covering most workers will be on par with those contained in HEU agreements with Aramark and Sodexho which expire on the same date.

HEU was certified as the bargaining agent in August, 2005. Members gave their bargaining committee a 99 per cent strike mandate last July after which the LRB agreed to assign a mediator to help reach an agreement.

HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy says that the collective agreement will provide the basis for strengthening members' rights in the workplace through a strong system of shop stewards, active health and safety committees and solid local union.

"Compass workers should be proud of what they"ve accomplished over the last three years in the face of an employer who was determined to deny them the most basic union rights,” says Darcy.

“Our members have earned this collective agreement and the respect for their work that comes with it. We must now focus on making the union stronger on the ground and prepare to make more gains in 2008.”

Those members who worked for Compass on September 18, 2005 - the start date of the agreement – and are still working for the company will also receive retroactive payments based on the wage schedule contained in the agreement.

For most workers, the hourly wage will rise from $10.25 an hour to $10.56 on September 18, 2005; $12 an hour on September 18, 2006; $12.59 an hour on September 18, 2007; and to $13.05 an hour on September 18, 2008.

That’s a total increase of 27 per cent over the term of the agreement.

Wages for other classifications will also see hourly wages rise to between $13.65 and $17.92 by September, 2008.

The collective agreement includes the same health and welfare benefit package currently in place.

Sick leave has been improved from the current provisions of two days every six months to six days every year, effective January 15, 2007.

Seniority will be accumulated based on hours worked not on the employee’s start date with the company.

Munroe did not award a merged seniority list for Morrison and Crothall. But he did recognize the union’s shop steward structure. That means that a Morrison manager must recognize an HEU steward from housekeeping who may be representing a food service worker.

The first agreement also contains improved harassment protection, better access to training and job posting language.

There’s also better protection for workers that are required to move between work sites – an issue of particular importance to housekeeping staff. Compass is now required to cover transportation-related costs for workers who are reassigned to another work area after reporting for their shift.

HEU now has collective agreements with Sodexho, Aramark and Compass covering 2,400 cleaning and dietary staff in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and on the Sunshine Coast.

But more than 700 Compass workers on Vancouver Island are still waiting for a first contract. The LRB is expected to appoint a mediator-arbitrator to those negotiations in the New Year.

Compass/PHSA members can get a copy of the wage schedule from a member of their bargaining committee and the union will hold information meetings to review the entire collective agreement in January.

The collective agreement is also available on the union website – www.heu.org – in the bargaining section under Compass-PHSA.