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Showing posts from May, 2010

Shared Services Organizations

In recent years, the Ontario government has encouraged the creation of regionally based, shared service corporations to provide some support services for hospitals.  Similar shared service organizations are now being created in other provinces.

In Saskatchewan a report by the consulting firm Deloitte recommended the establishment of a provincial shared services organization.  As is typical, they advocated an immediate start with supply chain management and procurement.  But they also advocated a later move into human resources and finance and then into other support services such as laundry and housekeeping. 

In Ontario, the shared service organizations have focused on the supply chain and a few other fairly small aspects of hospital support services.  If they too move into housekeeping, dietary, maintenance, or other support services, it will have a significant impact on industrial relations and, potentially, on local jobs and services. 

The march towards the centralization of ser…

Vancouver Island Health Authority ditches Compass housekeeping

Following C. Difficile and other hospital infection problems,  the Vancouver Island Health Authority is dumping its five year contract with Compass for housekeeping services.  The Compass contract had been signed only last year.   Despite its experiences, the Authority is going back to look for another corporate cleaner, rather than do it in-house. Here's a news clip that goes over this sorry story.

Compass and hospital acquired infections

Infection-control experts with the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) have largely blamed inadequate housekeeping practices for the deadly 2008 outbreak of Clostridium difficile at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH).  Housekeeping servies at the hospital had been privatized by the giant corporation Compass.

Documents previously withheld by VIHA but obtained by the Nanaimo Daily News show health officials knew by July 2008 that the virus rapidly spread to five different hospital floors because of inadequate cleaning. Personal contact and overcrowding were also issues, but "housekeeping was really the biggest problem".

Compass and its subsidiaries held the Island cleaning contracts for six years, during which time hospitals had regular infection outbreaks, failed housekeeping audits and damaging WorkSafe B.C. inspections. Compass employees lacked proper training to use toxic chemicals that caused hair loss, nose inflammation, respiratory problems, and skin irritati…

Will Greece be a model for attacks on public sector workers in other countries?

Below is a recent New York Times article on the possible effects of the wholesale attack on public sector wages and working conditions in Greece. This article suggests that the attacks may cause significant economic problems (deflation, recession, increased government deficits) and will not ultimately be accepted by the public.

I think it is safe to say, however, that the majority view from the mainstream media is that the current economic problems in Greece are an opportunity to hammer public sector workers, reduce public sector services, and change the balance of power between labour and business in favour of the latter.

Whatever the ultimate outcome, the battle in Greece will likely influence the treatment of public sector workers in all developed nations (including Canada). With its strong unions and left wing parties, Greece will be a tougher nut to crack than many other nations.

Leftwords: Defending Public Healthcare:

First major settlement after 'compensation freeze' announcement by government

The 1,350 member OPSEU group representing employees at the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has a tentative settlement of its contract dispute. The settlement allows for no general wage increases.   This is the first major broader public sector settlement (for a non-municipal group) since the McGuinty government announced its compensation freeze March 25. 

Prior to the Budget’s proposed compensation freeze MPAC had proposed a wage increase. That offer was withdrawn.  OPSEU states: “Despite an OLRB ruling that said MPAC wasn’t affected by the provincial freeze, MPAC would not move off of their zero wage increase position. The team then concentrated on making improvements in other areas of the contract.”

OPSEU’s president Smokey Thomas stated: “We know that MPAC members deserve an increase, but it became obvious that strike action would be needed, and under the circumstances the odds of success were slim. What are NOT in this agreement are many of the employer’s takeaw…