Sodexho and other HEU workers raise awareness about bargaining; Aramark talks proceed via video-conferencing

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HEU’s VGH local in Vancouver hosted a barbecue in a show of solidarity with their Sodexho and Aramark sisters and brothers on August 3. Several hundred health care workers came by over the lunch hour to demonstrate their support and have a hot dog and pop.

On August 4, HEU Sodexho members at a number of sites in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and on the Sunshine Coast leafleted their facilities to keep people informed about the status of their negotiations for first collective agreements. At Powell River General Hospital, the Sodexho workers put on a BBQ to complement their information distribution.

Sodexho awareness events will be taking place on a rotating basis over the next few weeks wherever the 1,100 HEU members employed by the French corporation, and covered by current negotiations, work.

Sodexho representative Richard Longpre has contacted HEU to talk about getting together again and the union has been in touch with mediator Vince Ready. Both men were involved in attempts to resolve the truckers’ dispute in Vancouver over the last few weeks.

And finally, discussions to establish essential services levels — triggered by the 96 per cent strike vote the Sodexho workers delivered in support of their bargaining committee in June — are well underway.

For HEU members employed by Aramark and working in housekeeping in Vancouver Coastal Health Authority facilities, negotiations for their first collective agreement were conducted via video-conference on August 5 with long-distance talks scheduled to continue August 10 and 11. Video-conferencing is being used because Aramark’s chief negotiator is located in Edmonton, Alberta.