Valley Haven health workers laid off

News release

HEU calls on Chilliwack mayor to stop contracting out at city-owned care facility

The Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) is calling on Chilliwack municipal council to step in and stop the contracting-out of dietary, housekeeping, laundry and recreation services at city-owned Valley Haven Guest Home, a seniors’ multi-level care facility in the heart of the city.

Sixteen HEU health workers received 60-day layoff notices yesterday from facility administrator John Jansen whose company, Fraser Pacific Management Ltd., leases Valley Haven from the city of Chilliwack.

HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt says that the contracting out and privatization of jobs adversely affects local economies, especially rural communities and Chilliwack should put a stop to it.

“We are calling on Mayor Hames and city councillors to step in and stop the contracting out of work at Valley Haven not only for the good of the residents but for the benefit of the whole community,” says Allnutt.

“Good jobs enable people to support local businesses and contribute significantly to the vitality and viability of the area economy. Destroying people’s careers is bad for business.”

Allnutt says that the layoffs came without warning. “Our members are in shock. Their jobs are gone. Their work is being privatized. There has been no consultation with the workers and their union.

“It’s a disgrace and shows a complete lack of respect for the employees and the services they provide in order to ensure that seniors have a healthy, clean and comfortable place to live,” says Allnutt.

Jansen, a former Socred cabinet minister, also told affected staff to expect contact next week from a private contractor about possible employment opportunities.

“It’s a grim scenario,” Allnutt says. “HEU workers in care facilities have fought for and won decent wages and benefits over many years. Their gains have benefited their families and their communities. Now they’re being forced into low-waged jobs without the protections of a collective agreement.

“We’re looking to Chilliwack municipal council to turn this situation around and keep good jobs in the community.”

-30- Contact Margi Blamey, communications officer at 604-456-7094 or 604-785-5324 (cell) Mike Old, communications officer at 604-828-6771 (cell)