Health unions to meet with deputy labour minister

News release

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Health unions representing 43,000 hospital and long-term care workers will meet with deputy labour minister Lee Doney to explore the possibility of returning to the bargaining table with B.C.’s health employers.

Hospital Employees’ Union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt is hoping that the government move will be accompanied by a shift in the government’s and health employers’ position in this contract dispute.

“It’s in the public interest to negotiate a fair contract for workers in B.C. hospitals and long-term care facilities,” says Allnutt who speaks for the multi-union bargaining association. “Mr. Doney can help us achieve a climate in which productive talks can take place if there is a shift in their position.

“The solution to the current dispute is a negotiated settlement,” adds Allnutt. “Legislation is not the answer — legislation tearing up health care contracts is why we are in this situation today.”

Health unions have been bargaining since early January. Those talks stalled April 2, when health employers continued to refuse to stop laying off workers while negotiations were underway and refused to withdraw their demand for nearly $900 million in wage and benefit rollbacks.

HEU represents 40,000 workers affected by the contract talks. Ten other unions in the bargaining association including the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union and the International Union of Operating Engineers represent the remaining 3,000 workers.

Workers covered by the contract talks include hundreds of job classifications including LPNs and care aides, lab assistants, x-ray and ECG technicians, biomedical engineers, trades, cleaners, dietary workers and clerical staff like medical transcriptionists, OR booking clerks and unit coordinators.

-30- Contact: Mike Old, communications director (cell) 604-828-6771