Hospital brass take up mops to keep their privatization dream alive

In an unprecedented attempt to prevent HEU members from cleaning a new building at Children’s and Women’s Hospital, hospital brass have ordered their own managers into scrubs to do the work.

Earlier this year, C&W management privatized cleaning at the new ambulatory care centre but their choice of contractor came under heavy criticism and the contract was subsequently cancelled.

But for the last two nights, the hospital’s director of environmental services and other excluded management staff have put in late shifts cleaning the multi-storey building while the hospital scrambles to find another private company to do the work.

It’s not clear whether the hospital intends to issue another “request for proposals” for the work or choose another private company from the initial round of bidders. It’s also unclear if a meeting scheduled for September 5 with French multi-national Sodexho is related to the cleaning contract.

That meeting was called off after management learned that the C&W HEU local was organizing a rally/picnic to protest the talks.

The local is also filing a grievance today arguing that HEU members — not managers — should be cleaning the ambulatory care centre.

“It appears that health care executives are under a lot of pressure to privatize services,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “But this latest effort to keep skilled and experienced housekeeping staff from doing their jobs borders on ridiculous.

“It’s time to end this time-consuming, money-wasting privatization fiasco now and bring the cleaning of the ambulatory care building in-house where it belongs,” says Allnutt.