Sunset Lodge urged to reconsider “reckless” plan to re-tender health support services — HEU

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The Hospital Employees’ Union says the Salvation Army’s move to immediately re-tender a contract for health care support services at Sunset Lodge won’t fix the problems that have plagued seniors’ care at that facility.

Following two years of highly-publicized reports of dirty rooms, sub-standard food and high rates of staff turnover, the Lodge’s operators said yesterday that it has cancelled its contract with U.K.-based Compass Group.

“Before rushing headlong into a similar arrangement with another company, the Lodge has an obligation to residents and their families to fully assess their experience with contracted services,” says HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy.

As recently as last week, the Salvation Army told the media there were no problems with the services delivered by the Compass Group.

“Continuing to deny the serious shortcomings that have accompanied contracting out would be both reckless and a real disservice to the seniors at the Lodge.”

Darcy repeated her invitation to the Salvation Army to discuss how housekeeping and food services could be brought back in-house.

“There’s no question that the key to improving care at the facility is to establish better wages and working conditions for staff,” says Darcy. “Sunset Lodge needs a stable workforce — not one subjected to low wages and high turnover.”

The Salvation Army was one of the first health employers on Vancouver Island to use the B.C. Liberal government’s contract-shredding law — Bill 29 — to fire more than 50 HEU members who previously provided health support services at the Lodge.

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