800 privatized hospital food service workers join HEU

News release

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Employees of a French corporation that’s under contract to provide patient food services in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority have voted 90 per cent in favour of joining the Hospital Employees’ Union.

As a result, nearly 800 employees of Sodexho who work at more than 30 health care facilities from Sechelt to Richmond — including at major hospitals like Richmond, St. Paul’s, Vancouver General and Lion’s Gate — are now HEU members.

“These workers have waited a long time for their voices to be heard and we’re very pleased they’ve chosen HEU to represent them in their workplace,” says HEU acting secretary-business manager Zorica Bosancic.

“We’ll be working hard with our new members to improve workplace safety and staffing levels — and to begin the process of bargaining a new collective agreement.”

Although the workers cast ballots on union membership as far back as July, the ballot counting had been stalled by a series of objections lodged by Sodexho and the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers Union at the Labour Relations Board. HEU ballots were finally counted Monday and Tuesday.

But more than 2,000 other privatized cleaning and food services workers employed by Sodexho, U.K.- based Compass Group, and U.S.-based Aramark are still waiting for their votes to be counted.

Most of Sodexho’s employees in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority earn about $10.25 an hour.

Sodexho took in $18 billion in revenues last year from its global operations and landed its 10-year, $330 million contract with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority last March.

Contact: Mike Old, communications director, 604-828-6771 (cell)