Laid off hospital workers hold solidarity BBQ as mass firings near
With hundreds of health care workers about to hit Vancouver’s unemployment lines, the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) has lodged unfair labour practice complaints at the Labour Relations Board against Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of B.C., including Sunny Hill Health Centre, and the B.C. Cancer Agency.
The Provincial Health Services Authority awarded a privatization contract for housekeeping and dietary services at the three health care facilities in late May. As a result, more than 400 skilled and experienced health care workers will be fired starting in September.
HEU spokesperson Zorica Bosancic says the union’s been hard at work to find alternatives to the mass firings and create a reasonable labour adjustment strategy for the workers affected. But, she charges, HEU’s efforts have been thwarted by hospital management, who have refused to engage in good faith discussions.
And that, she says, is a clear violation of B.C.’s labour laws. “Many of these front-line staff have put twenty or thirty years into serving patients and our health care system,” says Bosancic. “We intend to do everything we can to make sure their rights are respected and they’re treated with dignity.”
Laid off health care workers will join together in solidarity at an all day picnic and BBQ today.
Thursday, July 17
10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Children’s and Women’s Health Centre, Heather Street entrance
Patty Gibson, HEU communications officer, (604) 456-7007 (direct); (604) 328-7393 (cell)