Campbell Liberals playing politics with patient care in LPN scheme, says HEU

News release

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HEU urges BC Nurses’ Union to stop collaborating with government on divisive plan to move 5,000 LPNs into their bargaining association

Licensed practical nurses are warning the Campbell Liberal government not to put its deep-seated antagonism towards their union ahead of sound health care policy by attempting to force them into a bargaining association dominated by the B.C. Nurses’ Union.

Earlier today, the BCNU announced that it is collaborating with the Campbell government on a scheme that would see about 5,000 LPNs — mostly Hospital Employees’ Union members — transferred into their bargaining association.

HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt said the closed-door talks between the Campbell government and the BCNU reeks of political interference by a government with a long history of engaging in mean-spirited attacks on its members — and one that will compromise the gains made by licensed practical nurses.

“A decade ago, LPNs were being replaced with RNs and forced to work in other health care jobs or leave health care altogether,” says Allnutt. “Now LPNs are able to work to their full scope of practice to the benefit of B.C. patients and long-term care residents and they’re being used in increasing numbers.

“We’re not going to let this government turn back the clock on LPNs by throwing them into a bargaining association dominated by 26,000 RNs.”

And while Allnutt says this latest move by the Campbell Liberals is not surprising, BCNU’s collaboration is profoundly disappointing and he urged BCNU members to press their union to end its participation in this attack on HEU members.

“Our unions have been strong allies in the fight for patients and public health care,” says Allnutt. “And every day, front-line nurses — both RNs and LPNs — are trying to cope with the damage this government has caused in our hospitals and long-term care facilities.

“In the months leading up to the next provincial election, our energies should be focused on holding this government to account for its attacks on patient and resident care. This raid is of no benefit to patients but it plays right into the hands of a government that’s intent on sowing division among health care workers.”

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