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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

A Return to Wage Discrimination: Pay Equity Losses Through the Privatization of Health Care

Report by Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Marcy Cohen

The BC government’s actions to facilitate health care privatization have reversed more than 30 years of pay equity gains for women in health support occupations. Marjorie Griffin Cohen and Marcy Cohen cite historical statistics, which show that from the 1960s to 2001, the pay equity gains won by women in hospital support work were remarkable, but fair. Despite this success, the authors suggest the provincial government has supported reducing wages to a point where they are lowest in the country for this category of work.

Cohen and Cohen look at one particular agreement, the partnership agreement for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority between the private multinational corporation Aramark and the trade union now representing Aramark’s workers, as an example of how bad things have become for health support sector workers. These workers’ wages have been halved, they have no pensions, no long-term disability plan, no parental leave, and no guaranteed hours of work.

These rapid changes in wages and working conditions are due to a number of unprecedented actions by the provincial government, the multinational corporations winning contracted-out health support services, and one particular trade union. The provincial government justified its actions by claiming that hospital support workers were overpaid. Cohen and Cohen conclude that the Government of British Columbia’s actions will have broader implications for the privatization of health support work across the country.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Marjorie Griffin Cohen; Marcy Cohen;
Publisher: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2004; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: Provincial;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Health Care / Privatization
Policy Articles / Labour & Markets / Working Conditions
Policy Articles / Labour & Markets / Wages & Benefits
Policy Articles / Health Care / Privatization / 2004
Policy Articles / Labour & Markets / Wages & Benefits / 2004
Policy Articles / Labour & Markets / Working Conditions / 2004
Policy Articles / Health Care
Policy Articles / Labour & Markets


Keywords / Tags:

health care support workers; working conditions of health care support workers; contracting-out health care services; trade unions; privatization of health support work;