Solid progress in Aramark contract talks

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Contract talks between the Hospital Employees' Union and Aramark are moving forward as efforts continue to reach a first collective agreement for about 700 housekeepers working at more than 30 sites in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

Since bargaining began in April, the union and the employer have reached agreement on close to 80 per cent of the non-monetary items currently on the table. The union bargaining committee reports excellent progress in recent discussions, which included three meetings via teleconference in August and five face-to-face meetings in September.

Items settled to date include harassment protections, a grievance procedure, arbitration, union recognition and the right to wear union pins and shop steward badges, protection for probationary employees, job postings, job descriptions, a process for employees wishing to transfer between sites, seniority rights and an agreement that - with very specific exceptions - the employer will not contract out work that would result in layoffs.

"A lot of trust has been built up between both parties over the past two months," says HEU representative Noel Gulbransen. "That's helped to move things forward and produce a bargaining climate where everyone at the table has demonstrated a desire to negotiate a fair collective agreement as soon as possible."

With agreement reached on most non-monetary items, monetary issues including wages — which were raised during the September 28 and 29 sessions — will become a focus of future meetings in October.

Bargaining dates have been set for Oct. 4, 5, 25 and 26.

For more information contact Noel Gulbransen regarding Aramark bargaining or Nina Dhillon regarding Aramark local servicing questions. Both can be reached by calling 604-438-5000 or toll free at 1-800-663-5813.

Your bargaining committee includes the following members: Avelina Vasquez (St. Paul's Hospital) Jacqueline Smith (Vancouver General Hospital) Rick Shaw (Powell River General Hospital)