HEU statement on the resignation of Premier Gordon Campbell

News release

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The Hospital Employees’ Unionsays that under Gordon Campbell’s premiership, B.C. has undergone massive privatization of health care services, unprecedented attacks on the rights ofhealth care workers, and growing instability and chaos on health care’s frontlines.

But the union says that it is important to remember that the premier did not act alone, and that the entire B.C. Liberal cabinet and caucus must be accountable for the damage done to health care and to the workers’rights.

HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy says that the policies of the Campbell Liberal government have pushed hundreds of millions of health care dollars into the pockets of private corporations through the privatization of everything from seniors’ care facilities to hospital cleaning to patient food services.

“This has undermined the quality of care for patients and seniors and has destroyed thousands of decent, family supporting jobs in communities across B.C.,” says Darcy.

She says that for HEU members, Gordon Campbell will be remembered first and foremost as the politician who ripped up their collective agreements despite promising not to – and for rolling back their wages unilaterally.

In January 2002, the Campbell government passed Bill 29 – a law that tore up legally negotiated collective agreements and cleared the way for massive layoffs and contracting out in the sector.

In 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada later struck down key provisions of Bill 29 as an unconstitutional attack on the rights of union members to engage in collective bargaining. The Campbell government later agreed to pay out more than $80 million to impacted union members.

In 2004, the Campbell Liberals unilaterally rolled back the wages of health care workers by an unprecedented 15 per cent.

HEU represents 43,000 workers in every area of health care and community social services throughout the province.