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Hundreds of HEU members held sit-ins in two Vancouver Island hospitals to protest their employers plans to contract out their jobs. Members of other unions and other CUPE members rallied outside in support.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority has announced that a Compass subsidiary will be doing the cleaning and food services at most of its hospitals. More than 1,000 CUPE/HEU members will lose their jobs as of June 7.

Meanwhile, Compass is recruiting for jobs that pay $9.50 per hour with few benefits to do work that paid $18 to $19 per hour under HEU collective agreements.

I wouldnt do this job for $9.50 an hour, one housekeeper told a local reporter. House-keeping work involves cleaning up large volumes of blood or pieces of bone in operating rooms, vomit and bodily fluids in various areas of the hospital, even cleaning excrement from walls at times.

You wouldn't believe some of the things we pick up, said one worker.