Downtown Eastside youth workers vote to join HEU

News release

Employees of the Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Society (DEYAS), which delivers a unique range of primary outreach services to youth in Vancouver’s inner city, have voted to join the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE). Although the vote was held February 10, 2003, the ballot box had been sealed until early this week when the new certification was announced.

“This is an important victory for more than 70 front-line workers, who provide vital resources for the youth of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside,” said HEU’s secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “They encountered an employers campaign that required strength and determination to stick with their right to become union members.”

HEU’s newest members work as alcohol and drug counsellors, outreach workers, transition workers, and life skills workers, providing assistance to street-involved youth through such programs as the Alcohol and Drug Program, the Downtown Eastside Health Outreach Van, the Needle Exchange, the Youth Action Coalition, and the Youth Detox Program.

They join HEU members from St. James Community Service Society and Central City Lodge who also provide services in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The British Columbia Nurses Union (BCNU) is also part of the new bargaining unit, representing community nurses in what is called a “poly party certification.”

-30- Contact: Patty Gibson, communications officer, 604-456-7007 (direct); 604-328-7393 (cell)