New Sodexho revelations spur FOI request

News release

Food safety violations, aggressive anti-union practices shocking, union wonders whether health authority checked references

After digging up even more startling revelations about the business practices of multinational private health care provider Sodexho, the Hospital Employee’s Union (CUPE) has filed a comprehensive Freedom of Information request with the B.C. health authority that hired the company two weeks ago.

The union—which has demanded that Sodexho be fired because of its links to a filthy hospital crisis in Scotland—says it wants to get to the bottom of the relationship between the Northern Health Authority, which is run by Premier Campbell’s handpicked regional health czar, and the French company Sodexho, which was hired to revamp delivery of health care services at dozens of health facilities.

Check out the links at the end of this release for up-to-date information on Sodexho's track record.

“In a simple web search we found more disturbing news about the company,” says HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt. “For example it was fined in the U.S. when a Massachusetts high school student found part of a human thumb in a turkey sandwich.

“Or take for instance Sodexho’s Union Avoidance Manual,” says Allnutt, “which states that it will use every means to prevent employees from joining unions, and urges managers to identify `Communists or other undesirable elements which may be active in the union.’”

In the FOI filed late yesterday, HEU is pressing the Northern Health Authority to turn over a wide range of records including a copy of the Sodexho contract, whether it was openly tendered, how the contract was approved, and whether any effort was made to check Sodexho’s references. And, in the post-Enron world, Allnutt say HEU wants to know whether Sodexho is precluded from bidding at a later date on the direct provision of the same health services that it was hired to revamp.

According to the Cape Cod Times, Sodexho was fined US$9,450 for the `turkey and thumb’ sandwich incident about a year ago. The thumb belonged to a Sodexho cafeteria worker at the Cape Cod school which was severed in a workplace accident involving a food slicer. The company had failed to disassemble and clean the machine.

For more information on Sodexho's safety practices click on the three links below: http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/archives/2001/feb/28/foodservice28.htm

http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/archives/2001/apr/2/oshaaction2.htm

http://www.eyesonsodexho.org/foodsafety.html

A complete copy of Sodexho’s Union Avoidance Manual and its food safety record can be downloaded from the electronic version of this release at http://www.eyeonsodexho.org/employment-unionavoidance.html

For comprehensive information about Sodexho's track record, surf to:http://www.eyeonsodexho.org/index.html

-30- Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, 604-456-7039 (direct); 604-828-6771 (cell)