Children's and Women’s day-long festivities honour fired health care workers

Hundreds turn out to express solidarity and support

A day-long barbeque at Children's and Women’s Health Centre on July 17 brought out close to 600 people to recognize fired health care workers for the critical role they have played in promoting and maintaining quality care for B.C. patients.

Organizers called the event a great success, pointing to a steady stream of participants coming from sister health care facilities and health care unions to express their solidarity and support.

The festivities included volleyball and horseshoe games, an open mike, and the opportunity to autograph a giant banner honouring the laid-off workers.

“Our members have been under such stress. This event gives us a way to relax a little bit, have some fun, enjoy each other, and share some ideas about what to do next to fight privatization,” said C&W local shop steward Parashu Ramman, a housekeeper with more than 15 years of service.

“Getting together in this way gives us new energy to fight this contracting out. We must do everything we can to stop this American approach to privatizing our health care,” he said.

The jobs of more than 400 housekeeping and dietary staff at Children's and Women’s Health Centre, Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, and the B.C. Cancer Agency in Vancouver are being contracted out to British multinational Compass Group, which is expected to pay new workers wages of less than $10 an hour. Effective layoff dates will fall between September 19 and November 9.

The local will be meeting next week to plan follow-up activities.