Health care unions set June 14 as day of action on Medicare

With passage of private hospital's law in Alberta, unions redouble efforts to pressure Ottawa to act

With last week's passage of Bill 11 - an Alberta law that legalizes private hospitals - CUPE and other national unions representing health care workers are stepping up the campaign against health care privatization. In B.C., HEU has already had preliminary meetings with the BCNU and BCGEU to coordinate activities for a national day of action set for June 14. The goal is for unions to work together at the community level as well. "With the passage of Bill 11, we must redouble our efforts to make Ottawa enforce the Canada Health Act," says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. "And to succeed, we must build the broadest coalition possible starting with other unions who represent health care workers." The summer campaign is a follow-up to the successful CUPE ambulance tour and February 28 Day of Action in which HEU members played a key role. And along with its community and union partners in the BC Health Coalition, the union has distributed more than 200,000 post cards targeted at federal health minister Allan Rock. Initial plans for June 14 include a 15 minute assembly of health care workers outside their workplaces at the stroke of noon across the country. Thereís also plans for higher profile events in targeted communities. In preparation for June 14, the unions will develop a common information package and other campaign materials that support our efforts to pressure Ottawa to enforce the Canada Health Act and to broaden the debate on how to modernize - not privatize - our Medicare programs.