Day 7: Thousands turn out on May Day in support of HEU members

Bargaining bulletin

B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair’s message to Hospital Employees’ Union members from Vancouver’s May Day rally Saturday was clear and simple — “The rest of the labour movement is behind you. Health care workers are not alone.”

Sinclair, with roars of approval from thousands of marchers punctuating his remarks, delivered a blistering indictment on the Campbell government and it’s Bill 37, ending his speech with a tribute to health care workers.

“I want to thank all of you for everything you do every day,” he said. “We don’t go into Emergency looking for Gordon Campbell or Colin Hansen; we go in there looking for health care workers.”

HEU secretary-business manager thanked British Columbians across the province for their show of support, acknowledging that it takes tremendous courage to walk off the job.

“It’s our right and responsibility to stand up against unjust law,” he said. “On behalf of health care and on behalf of HEU members, I say thank-you.” Health care workers attended rallies in many B.C. communities — the largest were in Kelowna, Cranbrook, Victoria, Prince George and Campbell River.

Other HEU members continued to maintain protest lines and provide essential services at health facilities around B.C.

On Sunday, health employers will be in B.C. Supreme Court challenging the union’s protest actions.