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As hospital workers in BC enter their fourth day on strike, many are heartened by gestures of support from the public, even those inconvenienced by the strike.

Say HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt, Most British Columbians understand that health care workers did not take the decision to strike lightly, and that job action was a last resort.

Many lay the blame for the strike at the feet of the government.

Ursula Litzpke, 73, whos been on a waiting list for two years to have hip replacement surgery, blames the government. After all, the union has been on strike for only one day, and Ive been on a waiting list for two years.

The Kamloops News has an editorial supporting the strike which calls the governments move to nullify the contracts of health care workers the source of the current strife.

Says the editorial writer: They are allowing number-crunching bureaucrats to make health decisions for them and for all people in B.C. A fight in the hospital corridors was inevitable.

Support from other unions has been quick to arrive as well.

CUPE BC passed a resolution at their division convention urging other CUPE members to join the hospital workers on picket lines. The CUPE BC web site lists picket locations and reports that thousands of CUPE members have joined the picket lines.

The Vancouver Sun profiled three HEU workers and their how the BC governments contracting-out frenzy has affected them. (Not available on their public web page). St. Pauls Hospital food service worker Leah Bromley told the newspaper:

“It frightens me. I don’t have a lot of options. It’s impossible to afford university … . My job is gone but I’m out here picketing because this government is dismantling what my grandparents put together – health care.”

Meanwhile, the unions met with the governments deputy labour minister, Lee Doney Tuesday April 27th. The union restated their demand that privatization and contracting out be put on hold. And if the employers agreed to that, the unions would consider changing the nature of the job action.

Says Allnutt, We are committed to achieving a negotiated settlement the first in the hospital and long-term care sector since this government was elected.