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Union will take an open-minded, problem-solving approach to discussions but members will have the final say.

In an important departure from a year of conflict and chaos in the health care system, the Health Employers’ Association of B.C. has agreed to face-to-face talks with the Hospital Employees’ Union on February 14.

Employers agreed to the talks just hours after HEU members launched a province-wide day of political protests on January 28 - the one year anniversary of Bill 29’s passage by the Campbell Liberals.

HEU will go into these discussions with an open mind and a willingness to solve problems,” says secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “Our goal is to find solutions that will protect the public’s investment in a skilled and experienced health care workforce while staving off privatization of health services.

“And in the democratic tradition of our union, any agreements we reach with health employers and government will be put to a membership vote.”

Allnutt says that left unchecked, health employers and government are poised to undo decades of progress in winning recognition for women’s work and for the critical role our members play in providing quality patient care.

“Protecting family-supporting jobs and the public nature of health care are the two guiding principles in our fight ahead,” says Allnutt.