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Union says action shows “lack of respect” for collective bargaining

The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority has announced plans to privatize its massive warehouse and distribution operations and put another 200 employees out of work just as collective bargaining begins for a new province-wide contract for hospital and long-term care workers.

The request for proposals issued Monday afternoon comes as the health authority began delivering pink slips to 900 unionized dietary workers after rejecting their proposal to keep patient and retail food services in-house through a package of contract concessions worth $20 million.

“It’s a terrible message from health employers as we begin contract talks,” says Hospital Employees’ Union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“And it shows a fundamental lack of respect for the collective bargaining process at a point when all parties should be focused on finding alternatives to privatization and the loss of good jobs.”

Allnutt once again called on health employers to put their privatization plans on hold in an effort to create a productive climate for contract talks for 40,000 health workers.

Representatives of the Health Employers Association of B.C. rejected that proposal at the initial bargaining session held January 7. Talks continue this Friday.

The VCHA’s most recent privatization plans will affect purchasing and distribution of both medical and non-medical supplies at Vancouver General, Richmond, Lion’s Gate, UBC, St. Paul’s and other area hospitals as well as at many long-term care and community health services.

The health authority has already privatized the work of more than a 1,000 housekeeping and laundry workers.


Mike Old, communications officer, 604-828-6771 (cell)