Solidarity messages pour in after imposed settlement

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Supporters laud HEU members for courage in anti-Bill 37 fight

TRADE UNION leaders and representatives from student, faculty and seniors groups, have continued to send messages of encouragement and support to health care workers in the days following the imposed contract under Bill 37 and the May 2 agreement that limited the damage of the legislation.

The messages, while congratulating HEU members for the courage of their struggle in recent weeks, offer continued support in the ongoing fight for decent jobs and public health care. Here are a few excerpts:

The negotiated settlement was achieved under the most difficult circumstances with a majority government in an extremely powerful position and the courts siding with them?.It is no doubt a “bittersweet” settlement with the severe loss of wages by health care workers but you have maintained thousands of jobs in the sector, negotiated a severance package and importantly, you maintained the public’s support and labour’s solidarity. — Buzz Hargrove, president, Canadian Auto Workers union

I want to congratulate the members of the Hospital Employees’ Union for their courageous stand against the Campbell government’s legislative assault against their jobs, their union and our public health care system?Your members can be proud of the struggle waged against the brute force of a government determined to eliminate their jobs. — Brian Payne, national president, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

We stand strong with you in saying NO to the Campbell government. The PSAC stands strongly and proudly alongside HEU and the entire labour movement in BC and beyond. We are reminded of just how important our trade union saying, “an injury to one is an injury to all”, is today. — Nycole Turmel, national president, Public Service Alliance of Canada

I realize it was not necessarily the best deal, but when you consider who and what you were dealing with it was a helluva deal for the workers and the people of our province. Saving jobs and increasing the severance package was a major victory. — Rudy Lawrence, president, Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of BC

You were an inspirational force that finally united us against a government that has shown complete contempt for public health care, public education, workers’ rights, and almost every citizen of this province?.We have been behind you during this struggle and promise you our continued support in whatever action you might pursue in the future. — david fleming-saraceno, External Relations Officer, Simon Fraser Student Society

Whereas the Douglas College Faculty Association has taken a position of solidarity with the Hospital Employees’ Union in opposing Bill 37, therefore be it resolved that the DCFA continue to support hospital workers in opposing the Liberal Government’s concession demands and that the Government engage in free collective bargaining rather than legislative coercion. — A motion passed unanimously by the Douglas College Faculty Association Executive Council on May 3, 2004