89 per cent of HEU members ready to act to fight Campbell’s health care cuts — vote

News release

In a province-wide ballot, members of the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) have voted overwhelmingly to support a comprehensive action plan that calls for a variety of measures — including political protest job action — to fight the Campbell government’s attacks on health care in B.C.

Releasing the results today in Vancouver, union spokesperson Chris Allnutt says 89 per cent of the close to 15,000 members who cast ballots backed the plan. And the HEU leader says the outcome shows “the commitment of front line health care workers to defend decent paying jobs and vital health care services for British Columbians.”

“Our members are ready to take action,” he says, “to protect our health care system from Campbell’s reckless agenda, and to fight facility closures, service cuts, the eviction of seniors from care homes, and rampant privatization.” Allnutt says that union members haven’t waited for the vote results to be finalized before taking action. “We’ve already launched workplace protests. And together with others in communities across the province, our members have been involved in countless rallies, petition drives and protests.

“The plan has already had a positive impact, and we’ve won a number of victories. Now we have a clear mandate to step up the pressure to force the Campbell government to adopt better ideas for changing our health care system.” Allnutt says 14,608 ballots were cast in the vote, which began in late March. Just shy of 13,000 backed the action plan. Some 3,000 members employed in First Nations’ facilities and unfunded private for profit long-term care homes did not take part.

The action plan was developed at an emergency HEU conference in February — just days after the Campbell government used legislative larceny to break health union contracts.

It calls for a variety of specific actions such as strengthening member communications, building the community coalitions that have already proven to be the catalyst for significant protest action against the Campbell government, an expanded organizing strategy to sign up new union members, and greater involvement in November’s municipal elections.

-30- Contact: Stephen Howard, director of communications 604-456-7037