Bill 29 victory celebration draws more than 200 HEU members to UBC hospital

Printer Friendly Version

More than 200 HEU members took a break from Monday’s Summer School sessions to celebrate the recent Supreme Court ruling on Bill 29 and the new collective bargaining rights it guarantees workers across Canada.

Gathered on the lawn of the UBC hospital, the crowd also continued the call for a moratorium on all current and pending Bill 29-related layoffs, which include close to 700 in the last two months, along with another 500 planned before the end of the year.

Zorica Bosancic, HEU’s assistant secretary-business manager, directed her message to the premier himself.

“I’m here to tell you,” she said, “it’s time to undo the damage you created with Bill 29… Mr. Premier, it’s time to respect the courts. It’s time to stop the damage. And it’s time to stop firing B.C.’s health care workers.”

Priscilla Libradilla, a care aide at Inglewood Care Centre for over a decade, gave a first-hand account of Bill 29’s impact on patients and seniors’ care, as well as its toll on workers and their families. Libradilla, who is scheduled to be laid off at the end of September, described Inglewood residents as “a family,” whose care has been put at risk by the chronic contract flipping and mass layoffs caused by Bill 29.

HEU members also heard from BC Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair, who thanked the union for its persistence in fighting this unjust legislation. Sinclair echoed the call for a moratorium on layoffs and offered the federation’s support for the union’s fight against the ongoing terminations.

Though the tone was sometime serious, the cause for celebration was clear. As the crowd sang, along with performer Anne Feeney, “We fought back, we fought back, we fought back and we won.”

On June 8, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down key sections of Bill 29, the 2002 legislation that stripped contracting-out and other protections from health care workers’ collective agreements.