Blacklist tapes also reveal evidence of tendering improprieties, HEU charges

News release

Union demands that Premier Campbell cancel tenders and calls on Auditor General to investigate

Telephone recordings and affidavits released by the B.C. Federation of Labour Friday detailing plans for deep wage cuts, mass firings of health care workers, and the blacklisting of union members also provide evidence of deeper legal improprieties, the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) charged today.

And based on that evidence, the union is calling on the Premier to immediately cancel all ongoing and recently completed tenders for privatized support services in public health care facilities.

HEU is also calling on the Auditor General to determine whether B.C. rules governing the tendering of public service contracts may have been violated.

“The Campbell Liberals have led health authorities and multi-national corporations to believe they have a green light to blacklist thousands of front-line health care workers and turn our hospitals into low-wage ghettos,” says HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt.

“But it is also clear from the tapes that the tendering process by which health authorities are carrying out Victoria’s privatization agenda may have been seriously compromised.

“The Premier must take immediate action to investigate these allegations to reassure British Columbians that the integrity of the public tendering process will be protected,” Allnutt adds.

The most disturbing evidence comes from a taped May 1 conversation involving Spencer Green, the regional boss for French multi-national Sodexho. Green claims that:

· top Sodexho officials had lunch May 1 with a health care CEO; · a Children’s and Women’s Hospital executive with responsibility for the tendering process for janitorial services is a “personal friend” of Green’s; and · Sodexho and hospital officials would use “pilot projects” to gain an inside track to expand into hospital-wide contracts without first going through another tender.

Children’s and Women’s Hospital issued a “request for proposals” for a pilot project for janitorial services in its new ambulatory care building in mid-April. That RFP is now closed but no decision on the successful bidder has been released. Similar RFPs are in the works for housekeeping and laundry services in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health authorities.

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