Richmond’s Rosewood Manor jumps on the pink-slip bandwagon

Twenty HEU health workers laid off in wake of Bill 29 regulations

The ink was barely dry on the regulations supporting the Campbell government’s draconian Bill 29 when Rosewood Manor management laid off 20 HEU members working in laundry, housekeeping, dietary, building service and as activity aides at the seniors’ care facility in Richmond last week.

“Rosewood Manor management has laid off all the ancillary staff without giving any thought to how the facility would run without them,” said HEU financial secretary Mary LaPlante. “And not only have they not considered how devastating this is to the health workers and their families, they’ve completely ignored the needs, comfort and care of the residents.”

On March 15, members stood together and all the pink-slipped workers handed in their notification to the employer that they would be exercising their bumping rights. They were supported by HEU members from other Lower Mainland locals and by LaPlante, who spoke at the demonstration and confronted management about the lay-offs.

LaPlante asked facility administrator Deborah Goegan point blank if contracting-out or privatization was in the cards. Goegan said the union should “talk to the government”.

Last December, staff were told they had nothing to worry about as far as their jobs were concerned. As lay-off rumours began to surface, workers were told that jobs would be re-posted as part-time and casual positions. Now the pink slips are out and there’s no sign of the postings. The union is suspicious that the employer intends to contract the work out to a private, for-profit company, leaving the laid-off workers out in the cold.

Late in January, the Campbell Liberals rammed Bill 29 through the legislature, ripping apart freely-negotiated collective agreements and opening the door to the mass privatization of health care services and job losses that could impact 28,000 HEU members across the province.