Calgary After voting to join the Canadian Union of Public Employees last December, housekeepers at the Peter Lougheed Centre, Rockyview General Hospital and Colonel Belcher Hospital have a first contract that will give them a 35 per cent wage increase along with many benefit improvements.
Over 200 housekeepers, employees of Sodexho MS Canada Ltd. turned out to vote 96 per cent in favour of the contract on October 21.
These workers joined CUPE to improve their wages and working conditions, said Jim Arthurs, President of CUPE Local 182. Now, we have successfully negotiated a first agreement that provides significant wage improvements and benefits. Finally these workers will be recognized for the valuable work they perform in our health care system, he added.
The majority of employees in the bargaining unit are new Canadians and speak English as a second language. Currently more than half work full-time hours but were categorized by the employer as part-time. The new contract means that all employees who work full-time hours will be given recognition for full-time employment and be eligible to receive health benefits and sick leave.
In addition, overtime will be paid to all employees who work more than the prescribed number of full-time hours in a day. Currently employees only receive overtime after 44 hours per week and many employees were required to give up shifts because of extra hours worked.
Everyone is thrilled with this contract. A wage increase was long overdue, said Arthurs. Each employee who currently earns $7.90 per hour will get a 35 per cent increase over the next two years, he said.
The two-year contract takes effect November 1, 2003. Wage increases over the first year range from 21 to 32 per cent.
CUPE is Canadas largest union with over half a million women and men who provide public services. In Alberta, CUPEs 32,000 members work in health care, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities, museums, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE websites for more information www.cupe.ca and www.cupealberta.ab.ca.
For further information contact :
Jim Arthurs : (403) 204-0304
or (403) 852-6224 (cellular)