700 Aramark workers poised to become union members

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Labour Board also orders ballot boxes opened for another 70 Compass workers at Normanna and Evergreen care homes

Votes cast by hundreds of Aramark workers, on whether to become members of the Hospital Employees’ Union, will soon be counted following a January 27 ruling by the Labour Relations Board.

The ballot boxes were sealed almost nine months ago when the American-based corporation and the Industrial Wood and Allied Workers of Canada (IWA) Local 1-3567, objected to HEU’s certification application.

Yesterday’s decision now clears the way for about 700 front-line staff currently providing housekeeping services at more than 30 sites in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority to learn the results of their votes.

In two separate decisions, the LRB also ordered a vote count for 70 Compass workers providing food and cleaning services at Normanna and Evergreen care homes in Vancouver’s Lower Mainland.

Those workers have waited more than a year for the ballot boxes to be opened. “It’s a disgrace that these workers have been forced to wait such a long time to have their voices heard,” says HEU’s acting secretary-business manager Zorica Bosancic.

Bosancic says the union has contacted the province’s Employment Standards office and expect the votes to be counted early next week.

More than 1500 other contracted workers employed by the three foreign corporations delivering privatized services in BC’s health care facilities — Sodexho, Compass Group and Aramark — are still waiting for their votes to be counted.

In late November ballot boxes containing votes cast by nearly 800 Sodexho food service workers in Vancouver Coastal were finally counted. Ninety per cent voted in favour of joining HEU.