Kelowna-area health workers vote to join BCGEU

July 14, 2005

Health workers at two Kelowna-area facilities have voted to join the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, one of B.C.'s biggest unions, to improve wages and working conditions and for fair treatment on the job.

Support workers at the Lake Country Manor, a long-term care facility in Winfield, are the most recent to join the BCGEU. The 13 employees work for the British company Compass, which provides privatized dietary and housekeeping services at the seniors home.

Meanwhile, about 50 employees of the Dorchester Retirement Residence, a new 120-bed assisted living facility in Kelowna have also chosen BCGEU to represent them. The employees work in a congregate care setting, and provide a variety of support services at the facility including housekeeping, dietary, laundry, activities, and maintenance. The Dorchester is operated by the Retirement Residences Real Estate Investment Trust, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

"We're pleased to welcome these new members to the BCGEU," says union president George Heyman. "We look forward to working with them to set bargaining priorities and begin the process of negotiating first collective agreements with their respective employers."

Heyman says BCGEU is known throughout B.C. and Canada as a strong defender of workers' rights. "Workers decide to join our union because we've led the way in addressing priority issues like workplace health and safety, fair wages, health and welfare benefits, and job security," he says.

"We're respected because we've had a lengthy involvement in the long-term care sector, as well as years of experience in the relatively new congregate care field," Heyman says. "Over the years, we've broken a lot of new ground when it comes to advocating for working people."

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Contact Stephen Howard, BCGEU communications officer 604-992-0105