Providence Health rejects employee proposal to save 275 jobs, keep dietary services in-house

News release

Union questions business case for privatization, asks Catholic hospital group to reconsider decision to contract out

Providence Health Care has rejected a cost-saving proposal from its dietary workers and is negotiating a deal with a private corporation to contract out patient and retail food services in its Vancouver health care facilities including St. Paul’s, Mount St. Joseph and Holy Family hospitals.

Hospital Employees’ Union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt says the move would be a bad deal for the public and patients and is calling on Providence to sit down with its dietary workers in an effort to find alternatives to privatization.

If Providence contracts out its food service operations, about 275 dietary staff could lose their jobs over the next few months to be replaced by privatized workers earning less than $10 an hour.

“This has all the signs of a privatization boondoggle,” says Allnutt. “Providence is on the verge of sacking hundreds of skilled, experienced workers and turning over critical patient food operations to a foreign corporation.

“Our members provided Providence with a competitive proposal that would protect the public’s investment in these workers. It deserves a second look by the Providence board of directors.

“I urge the Providence board to put the interests of the public, patients and the 275 workers, who have in many cases provided decades of service, ahead of corporate profits,” adds Allnutt.

The union is also asking Providence Health Care to disclose its business case for rejecting its members’ proposal in favour of privatization.

-30- Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, 604-828-6771 (cell)