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Employees of the French global giant Sodexho who provide housekeeping services at Abbotsfords MSA General Hospital have voted to join the Hospital Employees Union.

The workers voted on April 28 but the ballot box was sealed until the votes were counted Monday afternoon. The 34-1 vote count follows a ruling June 3 by the Labour Relations Board dismissing an objection to HEUs certification application by both Sodexho and the Industrial Wood and Allied Workers (IWA) of Canada, Local 1-3567.

This is an affirmation of workers right to choose their own union, and we are really proud to represent them. These workers showed a lot of courage in recent months by speaking out in the press about their difficult working conditions, says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

Our next step will be to meet with these new members to prepare for negotiations for fair wages and a safer work place.

Allnutt says that the HEU has signed up hundreds of workers at dozens of facilities throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island where health authorities have contracted out food services and housekeeping.

MSA is HEUs first Sodexho certification in the Fraser Valley of a former HEU work jurisdiction.

In its June 3 ruling, the LRB concluded there was no evidence that the IWA represented these Sodexho workers.