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Nearly 300 employees of U.K.-based Compass Group, the corporation contracted to provide retail and patient food services and housekeeping at three B.C. health care facilities, voted 76 per cent in favour of joining the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU).

The final tally came in August after a long delay. Although workers voted on union membership more than 16 months ago, the ballot count was held up pending a series of B.C. Labour Relations Board decisions that dealt with objections from Compass and a B.C. local of the United Steelworkers of America.

The new HEU members work at Children’s and Women’s Hospital (the first hospital in B.C. to contract out health support services under the province’s controversial Bill 29), Sunnyhill Health Centre and the B.C. Cancer Agency in Vancouver. However, they will be designated as a single bargaining unit.

In another ballot count of Compass employees working at Dania Home, a seniors’ care facility in Burnaby, workers voted 80 per cent in favour of joining HEU.

HEU now represents more than 3,300 employees of Sodexho, Aramark and Compass – three foreign corporations that have signed lucrative privatization deals with B.C. health authorities and other health employers.

Compass hospital workers at several health facilities in Victoria have also been voting on union membership. No date has been set for that ballot count.

(Source: www.heu.org)