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After a long campaign that began in April 1998, 3000 hospital workers came out in force to reaffirm their support for CUPE in a Bill 136 representation vote on November 24 in Ottawa.

The Retail Wholesale Union, formerly affiliated with the Steelworkers, was pitted against CUPE 4000 to represent service workers at the merged Ottawa Civic, Ottawa General and Riverside hospitals. RW switched horses mid-campaign to join the CAW trying to capitalize on recent contract gains in the auto sector.

But CUPEs support remained firm, netting two-thirds of votes cast.

Workers at the Ottawa Hospital sent a clear message to their employer that they wanted a strong union to represent them as they negotiate a new collective agreement, said Darcy. When we look at restructuring and the growing threat of privatization of our health services, its clear that CUPEs the union best equipped to protect their interests.

CUPE also had a strong showing in the vote for the paramedical group. With only 150 of our members from CUPE 1580 eligible to cast ballots, we captured 513 votes compared to 606 for OPSEU.