Health employers withdraw support for Business Summit

Public health care employers had no business supporting health care privatization, says HEU The Health Employers Association of BC has withdrawn its support for the BC Business Summit - a coalition of business and employer groups that have banded together to push for corporate tax cuts, privatization of public services and gutted labour laws. HEABC says that its apparent endorsement of the Summit was linked to its associate membership in the BC Business Council — a key Summit organizer. HEABC says that any references to the HEABC's support of the Summit have now been removed. The move comes after HEU and at least one regional health authority asked HEABC to distance itself from the Business Summit agenda which included $1.5 billion in tax cuts and more outsourcing and contracting out in hospitals and schools. In a letter to HEABC last March, HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt wrote that "(HEABC) has no business participating in an agenda to dismantle and sell off health care piece by piece. Itís inconsistent with the public nature of Medicare as defined in the Canada Health Act and in this provinces' Medicare Protection Act." A month earlier, the Central Vancouver Island Health Region voted unanimously to ask HEABC to withdraw its endorsement of the Summit arguing that aggressive privatization would result in a two-tier health care system. HEABC's withdrawal comes as the Summit prepares to take its agenda on the road this fall. A "Summit Panel" will visit more than a dozen communities starting in mid-September. HEU is working with the BC Federation of Labour to educate local union and community activists about the Summit's plans for BC. "It's critical that labour and community groups make their voices heard when the Summit comes to town," says Allnutt. Business Summit targets

  • $1.5 billion in tax cuts most of which benefit the wealthy and corporations
  • privatization of crown corporations and other publicly owned assets
  • outsourcing and other contracting out in hospitals and schools
  • five per cent program cuts
  • two-tier minimum wage for youth
  • easier access to "variances" to employment standards
  • elimination of anti-scab legislation
  • more restrictive union certification process