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Health unions file unfair labour practices complaint against Victoria, corporations, health authorities

News release
May 7, 2002

Multinational corporations, health authorities and the provincial government are conspiring to deprive unionized health care workers of their rights, charge health unions in an unfair labour practices complaint filed late Monday.

The unions want the Labour Relations Board to put the brakes on health privatization schemes pending a hearing into their complaint during which they intend to subpoena witnesses from corporations like Sodexho and top executives from B.C.’s health authorities.

The unfair labour practices complaint comes on the heels of the release last Friday of legally taped conversations with corporate representatives that suggest that the government’s health privatization plans include blacklisting thousands of Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) members.

“The Campbell Liberals are clearly putting corporate profits ahead of patient care and front-line health care workers,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “But it appears that multinational corporations and the health authorities have also been given a green light to undermine the fundamental rights of workers to organize with the union of their choice and to engage in free collective bargaining.”

“There appears to us to be a foul conspiracy between multinational corporations, health authorities and our government to fire and blacklist long-term, experienced health care workers, most of whom are women,” says George Heyman, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union. “Their over-riding goal is corporate profit. Our goal is quality patient care and fair treatment for workers. There will be no labour peace in B.C. while workers are threatened with removal of their most basic rights.”

The unfair labour practices complaint filed by the HEU and BCGEU alleges that health authorities, multinational corporations and the provincial government have conspired to commit unfair labour practices including:

  • blacklisting HEU members;
  • termination clauses in service contracts in an effort to thwart the rights of workers to freely choose union representation, deprive union members of work and to prevent wages from rising above a certain level; and
  • predetermining union representation.

The full text of the LRB application is available on request.

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Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, HEU, 604-828-6771 (cell) or
Soren Bech , BCGEU communications, 604-291-9611

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