HEU reaches first contract with ARAMARK Corporation

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Tentative agreement improves wages, secures workplace rights

The Hospital Employees’ Union has reached a tentative first contract with ARAMARK Corporation that improves wages and guarantees other rights and protections for 700 cleaners working in health facilities operated by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

HEU is recommending the settlement to its ARAMARK members who will take part in ratification votes to be held over the next two weeks.

The tentative collective agreement raises the hourly wage rate from $10.67 to $12.47 upon ratification by incorporating temporary bonuses and a wage adjustment into the pay grid. Workers also receive a signing bonus.

Additional increases over the next two years will bring the hourly wage to $13.05 by October, 2007.

“This agreement provides an immediate and much-needed financial boost for our members and their families,” says HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy. “And better wages will reduce staff turnover and improve services to patients and the public.”

In addition to wage increases, the tentative contract includes a comprehensive grievance procedure, harassment protections and seniority and other workplace rights.

“It’s been a long road for our ARAMARK members and they should be very proud of what they’ve been able to achieve,” says Darcy. “This is a significant first step towards recognizing the critical role they play on the health care team.”

More than 3,000 workers employed by ARAMARK and its competitors, Sodexho and Compass, have joined the HEU since health support services were privatized by some BC health authorities beginning in 2003.