ARAMARK contract ratified by HEU

News release

Members of the Hospital Employees’ Union have voted 69 per cent in favour of a first collective agreement with ARAMARK.

The contract covers about 700 cleaning staff employed by the US-based corporation at more than 25 hospitals and care facilities in the Lower Mainland and on the Sunshine Coast.

Hourly wage rates for most workers will increase from $10.67 to $12.47 immediately and then rise to $13.05 over the term of the three-year settlement.

The contract also includes grievance language, harassment protection, seniority recognition and other workplace rights.

HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy says that while wages are not as high as they were prior to government-mandated privatization, they are the most competitive in BC among the major private contractors now active in public health care facilities.

The union is also negotiating a first contract with Sodexho. Those talks are currently being mediated by Vince Ready after workers spent seven weeks on the picket line.

Sodexho pays its workers $2 an hour less than ARAMARK.

“This agreement provides a modest financial boost for our members at ARAMARK and makes progress towards a more stable workplace,” says Darcy.

“Improved wages will reduce staff turnover which in turn will lead to improved services for patients and the public.

“It’s a significant step towards recognizing the important role these workers play on the health care team,” says Darcy.

More than 3,000 workers employed by ARAMARK and its competitors, Sodexho and Compass, have joined the HEU since cleaning, dietary and other services were privatized by some BC health authorities beginning in 2003.