Strike votes begin across B.C.

Bargaining bulletin

Strike votes began this week across B.C. for more than 40,000 HEU members covered by the facilities subsector collective agreement.

Members are encouraged to check their union bulletin boards for the date and times of their strike vote and talk to their local executive and to each other about why we need to take a strong strike mandate into bargaining.

HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt says that it’s time to send the government and health employers a message from the front lines of health care.

“They’ve gone too far,” says Allnutt. “Employers must stop firing health care workers, come to the table with reasonable solutions, and work with us to bring stability to health care.”

HEU has produced a materials for members and for the public, and launched a province-wide radio and print advertising campaign in support of a yes vote and to highlight the chaotic state of health care as a result of the Campbell Liberals’ cuts, closures and contracting out.

The sector’s multi-union bargaining association called the strike vote on March 7 after the Health Employers Association of B.C. refused to move off massive concession demands that include wage and benefit rollbacks, cuts to sick leave and LTD and reduced vacation.

“Seven out of ten British Columbians say contract rollbacks will hurt health care,” says Allnutt. “That means we’re not alone.

“British Columbians know that HEU members are delivering the best care possible under difficult conditions.

“They also know that when we stand up for ourselves and our work, we’re defending our own rights and the rights of all British Columbians,” he says.

Strike votes continue over the next two weeks and end on March 26. As each vote is completed, the ballot boxes are sealed and will remain sealed until all the votes can be counted together. The results of the vote will be announced by the end of the month.

For comprehensive information about bargaining and to sign up for e-bulletins, look up the HEU website at www.heu.org. And for quick updates, call the HEU bargaining hotline.