Debate impassioned as B.C. Fed calls for action on IWA local 3567 front

DELEGATES TO THE B.C. Federation of Labour convention in Vancouver sent a clear message Nov. 24 that so called partnership agreements signed by a local of the IWA with multinational companies involved in privatizing health care services aren’t acceptable.

And they overwhelmingly passed a wide-ranging motion extending support to health care workers who are facing wage cuts and job losses.

Through 60 minutes of impassioned and constructive debate, labour activists from a cross section of B.C. unions highlighted how these deals impact women, threaten to lower standards for other workers, and undercut labour’s efforts to fight the vicious privatization agenda of the Campbell government.

The four-part resolution set out a clear course of action to help push for a resolution in the dispute between CUPE/HEU and other health care unions with IWA Local 1-3567:
  • the finding of the independent umpire appointed through the Canadian Labour Congress — that the actions of IWA Local 1-3567 are in violation of the CLC constitution — must be accepted by all parties;
  • the B.C.Fed and its affiliates “support the efforts” of incumbent unions to continue to represent workers in contracted out services;
  • urges the CLC executive to “take immediate action to tackle the problem of voluntary agreements with privatizing multinationals;” and
  • extends support to workers who are facing wage cuts and job losses.
While many HEU activists would have liked a tougher resolution, HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt says the outcome is an “important step forward at this time that will provide a renewed impetus for a solution.”

Allnutt says that CUPE national president Paul Moist and HEU president Fred Muzin played important roles in reaching out to other B.C. Fed affiliates to gain support for a resolution.