Stability and security.
Housekeeping service workers are being transferred from private companies to in-house at Eagle Ridge Hospital by way of Fraser Health.
Today (April 20), the province and Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) confirmed 65 people set to return to the Port Moody facility are now employees of the authority after nearly two decades of contracted services.
This follows through on a promise the B.C. government made in August 2021 to end 21 commercial contracts for housekeeping and food services in health-care facilities, and using a labour adjustment process negotiated with the HEU.
Union spokesperson Meena Brisard says the contracting-out policy "disproportionately impacted" women and racialized health care workers — said to represent more than 80 per cent of workers in the sector.
"When housekeepers and dietary workers were contracted to private corporations nearly 20 years ago, they were separated from the rest of the health-care team and pushed to the margins of our health-care system, earning low wages and substandard benefits," she explains in a statement.
"Today’s repatriation of health care workers to public sector employment is the result of nearly 20 years of campaigning by our members. It will provide stability and security for these workers, and better care."
For Eagle Ridge, the repatriation contract is retroactive to April 6.
Two others Fraser Health facilities were also part of the return:
- Royal Columbian Hospital = 205 housekeeping workers
- Burnaby Hospital = 92 housekeeping workers
The employees are set to be covered by the province-wide facilities collective agreement, which includes improved wages and benefits.
Following the initial announcement on Aug. 30, 2021, health authorities served notice under the terms of 21 commercial service contracts and are starting a phased approach to repatriate housekeeping and food service contracts.
"I know how hard the past two years of the pandemic have been on our health-care providers and British Columbians seeking care," adds Port Moody–Coquitlam MLA Rick Glumac in a separate release.
"These challenges have affected us all. I am proud our government is taking action to address these issues. By bringing housekeeping workers back in-house at Eagle Ridge Hospital, we can continue to provide the high quality of care that the people in our community deserve."
B.C. health authorities are scheduled to bring back about 4,000 workers back in-house over the next two years under Bill 47.
Bill 47 — known as the Health Sector Statutes Repeal Act — repealed two existing pieces of legislation: the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act (Bill 29) and the Health Sector Partnerships Agreement Act (Bill 94), which the province had facilitated contracting out in the health sector and caused significant labour impacts.