More Layoffs, Firings as BC Health Care
The controversial Bill 29, the bill that
broke the master contract of the Hospital Employees Union and empowered
employers to fire union health workers and contract out their jobs, is
before BC Supreme Court. But the job cuts and facility closures
The latest move by the Salvation Army at
the Sunset Long-term care facility in Victoria lay off 60 workers, many
who have been there since the facility opened 24 years ago, and
contract out their jobs to a for-profit contractor. The workers there
are paid minimum wage with no benefits.
Sally Ann bosses say the move is due to
budget cuts by the BC Liberal government and the local health
authority. But the workers say the bosses rejected an offer by the
union to make up the $200,000 budget shortfall.
"Clearly the Sally Ann is more interested
in eliminating its stable, dedicated workforce, than in finding a
solution to any budget dilemmas it may face," says HEU spokesperson
Zorica Bosancic. "In fact, our members offered more than the $200,000
this employer originally said it required to avert privatization plans.
Given the Salvation Army's stated commitment to help people in poverty,
we are surprised they would take such a callous approach to their own
Meanwhile, an additional 84 nurses and
support staff have been laid off at the cherished St. Mary’s hospital
Westminster. The government is moving ahead with
plans to close the 116-year-old hospital, despite a widespread
community effort by local residents to keep it open.
Pleasant View Care Home bosses laid off an
additional 64 resident care workers, after laying off 21 keeping and
housekeeping staff earlier this year. The facility is being downsized
as residents have been forcefully relocated to other facilities. Again
bosses refused to consider a cost-saving proposal by staff members.
Ninety-three laundry and maintenance
workers at Vancouver Hospital will be losing their jobs as a result
contracting out to a minimum wage contractor.
Union officials are calling on the
government to make the conditions of all contracted out services
public. Last year, the government removed much of the information about
the awarding of contracts from the provisions of the Freedom of