The Privatization of Health Care Cleaning Services in Southwestern British Columbia, Canada: Union Responses to Unprecedented Government Actions

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This paper analyzes the political dynamics between a newly elected, right‐leaning provincial government and a left‐leaning public sector union that resulted in the privatization of 4000 health support housekeeping jobs in southwestern British Columbia in less than a year. The article documents how government set the stage for privatization, the struggle that ensued when the union resisted concessionary bargaining, and the new challenges that emerged for both union and management once housekeeping and other support services were taken over by multi‐national service corporations. This case is significant because the size and scope of this privatization and the legislation that facilitated it are unprecedented in Canadian history.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Vancouver, BC, Canada;, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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