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Hospital Employees’ Union members have voted 94 per cent for a settlement to last year’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling striking down anti-labour legislation imposed by the BC Liberals in 2002.

BC health care workers will go to the bargaining table in 2010 without legislative restrictions on their ability to negotiate contracting-out issues.

That’s good news for patients and the future of public health care, says HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy.

“The privatization of everything from seniors’ care to hospital food to the cleaning of patient rooms has been a monumental failure for patients and seniors,” says Darcy.

“Now we have a process through which employers and health unions can fully assess any future proposals to privatize services, and find ways to improve the public delivery of these services as an alternative to contracting out.”

The main elements of the agreement :

  • $5 million to re-train workers laid off as a result of contracting out in the future;
  • $70 million in compensation to health care workers affected by Bill 29 in the past (including $2 million for re-training);
  • consultation on plans to contract out services or re-tender services already contracted out; as well as on labour adjustment measures for affected workers;
  • maintenance of a 700 full-time equivalent cap on contracting out, with disputes resolved by the grievance and arbitration process;
  • removal of legislative restrictions on collective bargaining inconsistent with the agreement, and
  • opportunities for workers laid off as a result of contracting out to apply for job vacancies in health authorities throughout the province.