First HEU-negotiated Sodexho contract ratified

Trail-blazers provide food services at South Granville Park Lodge

HEU members who are employed by French multinational Sodexho and provide food services for the residents of South Granville Park Lodge, a private for-profit long-term care facility in Vancouver, ratified their first collective agreement by 87 per cent on August 8, 2002.

“This is an important victory for these members and for HEU,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “Their employer is a very powerful corporation that’s actively trying to establish a foothold in B.C.’s health care system. It took a lot of courage for this small local to say, `We want a union, and we want a good family-sustaining contract.’ It’s a major achievement.”

The new contract contains wage increases ranging from 3.1 to 19 per cent, with the highest percentage increases going to the lowest paid Sodexho workers.

The new contract sets up a wage schedule retroactive to May 31, 2002. Two subsequent across-the-board increases of 22 cents per hour will kick in on May 31, 2003 and May 31, 2004.

An existing benefits package with MSP, dental, extended health, group life insurance, and AD&D will expand to include part-time employees with 28 hours or more.

Other improvements include nine statutory holidays; five days of sick leave, accumulative to 40 days; two weeks, four days of vacation for those with one to four years of service and three weeks vacation after five years.

Another gain is the reduction of the work week from 40 hours to 37½ hours.

The above improvements amount to an average of a 13 per cent increase in wages and benefits for HEU’s Sodexho members at South Granville Park Lodge, with the lowest paid receiving the biggest boost.

“This is a good first contract to build on,” says Allnutt. “And these workers can feel proud of that. They are trailblazers and proved that even in difficult times, sticking together around a bargaining table works.”

The term of the three-year agreement is from the date from its date of ratification to July 21, 2005.