Unions plan expanded job action on Thursday

News release

While limiting impact on patient care, unions hope their efforts result in a fair agreement

Unions representing 46,000 health services and support workers are announcing an expansion of job action on Thursday when legal strike notice comes into effect for hundreds of health care facilities across the province.

While the actions will affect all union members who are not designated to provide essential services, the unions will not be putting up picket lines where patient care is provided.

“Our commitment in taking legal job action is to limit as much as possible the impact on patient care,” says Hospital Employees’ Union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt, the chief spokesperson for the 10 unions engaged in talks with health employers for a new collective agreement.

“Achieving a negotiated collective agreement is clearly our top priority,” adds Allnutt. “It is our hope that these measured actions will result in a fair agreement.”

On Thursday morning, at all facilities where the unions have a legal right to take job action, health care workers will engage in various creative job actions that will last through the day shift. The actions will start at 8:00 a.m. or later, depending on when legal strike notice comes into effect.

At a small number of locations where non-direct patient care services, like laundry, are provided, picket lines may go up. But Allnutt says these pickets will not affect direct patient care or other unionized health care workers.

As a result of the numerous legal challenges launched by the Health Employers’ Association of B.C. including a Supreme Court hearing that continues today, the unions’ efforts to provide as much advance notice as possible have been undermined.

Two-hour study sessions are planned for today at more than 30 health care facilities across the province where the unions are in a legal position to take job action.