BCNU supports HEU fight for fair, negotiated contract

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Non-designated nurses won’t cross picket lines, says president McPherson

The BC Nurses’ Union says it fully supports the fight of health support workers led by HEU to win a fair, negotiated contract.

In a news release issued on April 24, BCNU president Debra McPherson sent a message of solidarity to HEU.

“Nurses will provide whatever support we can to our colleagues,” the BCNU release says. “If there are picket lines those nurses who are not required to perform essential services will honour those picket lines and not cross them.”

The BCNU president says that job action became inevitable when health employers repeatedly refused to put layoffs on hold during negotiations and withdraw their massive, $900-million concession demands.

“HEU and the support workers have been facing unprecedented attacks, first through Bill 29, the legislation that paved the way for massive contracting out of support services, and now at the bargaining table,” says McPherson.

Under contracting out, nurses aren’t allowed to inform hospital cleaners about spills that need to be wiped up or to instruct security they are needed to respond to incidents that may be putting patients and other staff in danger.

Instead, nurses are told to telephone a call centre and talk to a supervisor from the contracting company.

“The health care team has been undermined badly, if not destroyed, by these contracting out schemes,” says McPherson.

“This is a chance for the government to show that it respects health care workers and respects the public health care system.