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Decision puts contract-breaking Campbell Liberals’ and their health authorities on a “shorter leash” when firing workers

A ruling set down by the B.C. Labour Relations Board Friday afternoon severely curtails health employers’ rights to fire experienced health care workers, says the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

The LRB agreed with health unions that regional health authorities are the true employers - a position opposed by the Health Employers Association of B.C. And it means, says HEU spokesperson Zorica Bosancic, that health care workers laid off as the result of service cuts by the Campbell Liberals will have more opportunities to continue working within the health care system.

“This ruling puts the contract-breaking Campbell Liberals and their health authorities on a shorter leash when it comes to firing experienced health care workers,” says Bosancic. “It provides the tools we need to retain skilled and experienced workers in the health system.”

Under the Campbell Liberals’ Bill 29, passed last January, seniority rights established under the W.A.C. Bennett government were torn from legally negotiated collective agreements. The legislation limited bumping rights of long-serving employees to positions held by workers with less than five years seniority.

The LRB move to declare health authorities the true employer means laid off health care workers can exercise their bumping rights regionally rather than within the four walls of the hospital or long-term care facility where they work.

In its ruling, the LRB acknowledged that the labour adjustment measures previously bargained by health employers and unions were eliminated under Bill 29 and that in its ruling it needed to “ensure fairness and balance when organizations come together resulting in an impact on employees and potential job loss.”

Health employers and unions have until the end of July to work out broader seniority lists after which time the LRB will step in to set them.

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Contact:
Mike Old, communications officer,
604-828-6771 (cell)

The ruling is attached to the electronic version of this release at heu.org