More HEU Sodexho members join job action

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A crowd of more than 175 trade unionists and community activists turned out to support employees of French corporation Sodexho at an afternoon rally in New Westminster as they expanded their job action October 14.

This second wave of 350 Sodexho workers taking job action clean operating rooms, special care nurseries, and patient and long-term care resident rooms in seven facilities in the Fraser Health Authority including the region’s largest hospitals.

They join 1,100 workers who have been on strike at another 29 sites since September 15.

HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy applauded the stand the union’s Sodexho members are taking in their fight for fair wages and quality care.

“Your jobs are critical not only to patients recovering in hospital and residents living in care facilities but also to the health and safety of other health care workers,” Darcy said. “You deserve to be paid a decent wage for the work you do.”

Darcy’s remarks were supported by Sharon Sharp, a BC Nurses’ Union steward at Royal Columbian, and by Terry Engler, an officer of the Vancouver and District Labour Council as they brought solidarity greetings to the striking workers and their families.

And HEU financial secretary Mary LaPlante acknowledged the support of other labour and community organizations including the Health Sciences Association, the BC Federation of Labour, the New Westminster District Labour Council, the Telecommunications Workers (TWU), the BC Teachers’ Federation, UNITE HERE, the International Brotherhood of Operating Engineers, CUPE and Seniors Standing on Guard of Medicare.

The rally kicked off job action at Royal Columbian, Burnaby General, Surrey Memorial and Chilliwack General hospitals as well as Fellburn Care Centre in Burnaby, Heritage Home in Chilliwack and Queen’s Park Hospital in New Westminster where HEU Sodexho members went down to essential services levels at 3 p.m. and then set up picket lines at Royal Columbian and Chilliwack General.