BC unions will fight a major multinational corporation’s plan to ban fired Hospital Employees Union members from working in health care as part of the provincial governments privatization agenda.
Transcripts and tapes released at a BC Federation of Labour press conference Friday morning contain frank admissions by corporate representatives that they have no intention of hiring back HEU members fired by health authorities as they privatize housekeeping, laundry and food services.
“This is an unbelievably deliberate, cold-hearted and vicious attack on thousands of experienced and dedicated women and men on health cares front lines,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.
“This is about union busting and fattening corporate coffers - plain and simple,” adds Allnutt.
Representatives of Sodexho and a major laundry interest presumed to be K-Bro Linen approached the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union with the intent of negotiating company-friendly contracts that kept wages low and HEU members out of health care.
But BCGEU - in close consultation with HEU - responded to the offensive and immoral advance by recording further meetings in an effort to shed light on the reckless agenda of the Campbell Liberal government.
That agenda includes cutting wages to between $8 and $10.50 an hour, keeping HEU members out, and deals with health authorities that allow companies to walk out on contracts if they become “too expensive” to block any union from bargaining better wages and working conditions.
In an emergency session Thursday, B.C. Fed leaders responded to the revelations by pledging their support to HEU members efforts to preserve their jobs and keep their union. Labour leaders also hammered out a protocol agreement to short circuit attempts by corporations to separate members from their union.
“Were grateful for the solidarity of the BCGEU and the entire labour movement for exposing the corporate agenda in B.C.s health care system,” says Allnutt.“This solidarity is critical as we work to protect our jobs, our families, our public services and our communities,” adds Allnutt. “Campbells agenda has come into sharp focus - and he must be stopped.”
What they said on tape:
“We had lunch with one of the CEOs.”
“The reason they (health authorities) are getting rid of the existing staff is to get rid of the existing deal.”
“I say its everybody [that will be fired] and I aint hiring them.”
Spencer Greene, regional director of operations, Sodexho Canada on whether Bill 29 is the “keep HEU out clause:”
“Yeah, exactly, well thats it right? I mean lets call it what it is exactly.”
On whether the company would hire HEU members:
“No they would prefer not to.”
On whether they would keep HEU members out because theyd vote their union back in:
Luciano Anjos,labour consultant acting on behalf of laundry company believed to be K-Bro Linen Systems
You can read the electronic transcripts by going to http://www.heu.org/telephone-steeves-spencer.pdf andhttp://www.heu.org/telephone-clark-anjos.pdf and listen to the audio tapes by going to http://www.workingtv.com/phonecallsx2.mp3.
Selling off health care, one piece at a time
HEU members know that health care is up for sale and its starting with their jobs. Because of Bill 29, more than 32 health support services areas have been identified for possible privatization including:
- Diagnostic Lab
- Diagnostic Imagining
- Plant Maintenance/Operations
- Nutrition Services
- Information Systems
- Human Resources
- Health Records
- Materiel Management
- Social Work
- Respiratory Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Other Therapies
- Volunteer Resources
- Pastoral Care
- Speech Therapy
- Quality Assurance
- Utilization Management
Press conference video
After 9 a.m. Saturday, May 4 go to http://www.workingtv.com/dirtytrix.html to access a video of the press conference.