CUPE’s Hospital Employees Union in British Columbia continues to fight back, disrupting the Campbell government’s plans to privatize health care.
This week, HEU unleashed hard-hitting TV ads that show the risk of cutting staff, wages and corners when it comes to housekeeping, laundry and food services at hospitals and long-term care facilities. The ads give graphic examples of the risks to patients.
“What these ads show us is scandalous,” says National President Judy Darcy. “But the bigger scandal is the attitude and the actions of the Campbell government, which has moved further and faster than any other government in Canada to disrupt and destroy public health care.”
The preceding day, hundreds of HEU members at the Burnaby hospital staged a one-day protest to oppose the hospital’s threatened closure. Their numbers swelled by members of CUPE’s National Executive Board and CLC convention delegates from across the country, they blocked access to the hospital in defiance of the government.
The labour board later ruled that the job action was not an illegal strike, turning down an employer demand for an injunction covering a two-year span that would bar HEU from taking similar action.
Earlier in the week, HEU released information obtained through a Freedom of Information request, detailing cuts to health care, including cancer diagnosis and treatment and cuts to services for women and children. As the government scrambles to control the damage from these revelations, support for Gordon Campbell is falling.