Support for HEU members continues to grow from all sectors of the labour movement and from every corner of BC. The vicious nature of the attack on HEU members has galvanized workers fed up with being used and abused by the Campbell government.
In what one union leader described as spontaneous combustion, workers from the private and public sectors are withdrawing their labour in protest, with actions promising to escalate unless a resolution can be reached today.
It is no wonder workers are angry, says CUPE National President Paul Moist. On April 30th, we have hundreds of HEU members who were laid off because jobs theyve held in some cases for up to 30 years are being contracted out to multinational profiteers who pay $9.50 an hour. But to add insult to injury, these workers learn that they will have to pay back up to $500 to their employer because the government has cut their wages by 15 per cent retroactive to April 1.
They are being kicked when they are down, the final indignity from a government that has been attacking them and the value of the work they do for two and a half years. It only makes matters worse that the bill was introduced on April 28, the International Day of Morning for Workers Killed and Injured on the Job this, when injury rates among health care workers are the highest of any sector.
Campbell has gone too far. People wont stand for it.
Up to 100,000 CUPE members in BC will be protesting on Monday as more than 55,000 of the 70,000 members of CUPE BC join their HEU sisters and brothers in protest.
British Columbia will pretty much be closed for business on Monday, says CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill. We’re going to see an economic an absolute nightmare in this province.
Jim Sinclair, president of the BC Federation of Labour, is quoted in the media as saying: This isnt a health care strike anymore. Its a labour strike to support health care workers.
Support from all sectors is strong. City halls and schools throughout the province will be closed Monday. Public transit is shut down in many centres. Teachers and nurses are joining the protest. Steelworkers in Prince Rupert and IWA members at paper plants in different communities are promising a shutdown. Ferry workers have said they will not cross picket lines.
Philip Venoit, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, says, defiance should not come as a surprise.
Public support is strong to bring this government back in line with BC citizens values, and this defiance is only the beginning to accomplish that.
Buckle up and put your tray back in the upright position. Theres a little turbulence ahead.