More bargaining dates with Sodexho a good sign

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Three more days of face-to-face negotiations for first collective agreements covering 1,000 HEU Sodexho members in the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast and Fraser Valley have formed a solid foundation for bargaining and more dates have already been set.

“Scheduling nine more bargaining dates is a positive sign,” says acting secretary-business manager Zorica Bosancic. “It demonstrates a serious commitment to the process from Sodexho and allows discussions to build toward an agreement.”

Bosancic says that while it’s early in the negotiations she’s satisfied with the progress the parties have made. “HEU and Sodexho have exchanged proposals and we’ve started discussing non-monetary issues. That’s the first part of any negotiations because non-monetary items establish labour relations’ mechanisms and principles.”

Non-monetary issues include the recognition of union stewards, union representative site visits, grievance and arbitration processes and human rights protections.

“Wage and benefit proposals require a lot of attention and take focus away from other equally important, no-cost issues. That’s why they come to the table after non-monetary items are agreed to,” Bosancic says.

The talks cover members in food services in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and Providence Health, housekeeping at MSA, Mission Memorial and Eagle Ridge hospitals, and bundled services (laundry, housekeeping and food services) at German Canadian Care Home and Foyer Maillard.

Twenty-five workers at Foyer Maillard, a facility in Coquitlam, are the union’s newest members after a 100-percent vote in favour of joining HEU on March 4, 2005.

Bosancic says that the HEU Sodexho bargaining committee will negotiate the many items they have in common together.

“Our Sodexho members have many things in common,” Bosancic says. “When we need to discuss specific issues for housekeeping, food services or long-term care, we have the ability to do that.”

Bargaining dates are scheduled for March 21, 22, 23, 29, 30, 31, and April 12, 13, 14.