VIHA rejects $21 million concessions offer

News release

Talks to avert privatization continue in the new year

Front-line health care workers are disappointed that the Vancouver Island Health Authority has rejected a $21 million concessions offer, but will continue their efforts to avert the privatization of critical public health care services in the new year, says the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

Talks aimed at finding an alternative to contracting out hospital housekeeping, patient and retail food services, linen distribution and personal laundry services in Island health care facilities will proceed in January under Section 54 of the Labour Relations Code.

That process requires health authorities to fully disclose all financial information related to the contracting-out initiative, detail reasons for the changes, and engage in meaningful discussions with the union about potential alternatives.

The union’s initial proposal, covering more than 1,200 workers, had also included maintenance, transportation, and facility laundry services, which have not yet been put out to tender.

“We are encouraging VIHA to put the safety of patients and workers ahead of the interests of private multinationals,” says HEU spokesperson Zorica Bosancic.

“Our members have shown they are willing to make a substantial sacrifice in defense of public health care and family-supporting jobs. Now, VIHA must be willing to balance their cost pressure issues with their responsibility to maintain quality hospital services. If they don’t, there will be long-term consequences for all of us,” she says.

Services under discussion in January impact about 1,000 front-line workers in VIHA’s central and south island health care facilities.