Hundreds of local health workers vote on strike action

More than 400 workers in Campbell River are among the 47,000 across B.C. who are represented by the HEU

More than 400 local health care workers took a strike vote Thursday at the Anchor Inn.

The 270 employees from Campbell River Hospital and another 170 at Yucalta Lodge were urged to vote “yes” to a strike by the Health Employees Union (HEU).

The HEU represents about 85 per cent of the 47,000 unionized workers who belong to the 11-union Facilities Bargaining Association.

Their contract with the province expired March 31, but they’ve been negotiating since Jan. 14.

However, the association’s chief negotiator said talks have stalled and that’s the reason for the strike vote.

“Health employers’ demands for more contracting out will cause uncertainty and instability in our hospitals, care facilities and in the community,” said Bonnie Pearson, in a news release.

Job security, wages and benefits are the issues.

The bargaining unit includes care aides, ambulance paramedics, health records staff, lab and other diagnostic specialists, sterile supply techs, emergency dispatchers, nursing unit clerks, trades and maintenance workers, activity aides and rehab assistants, IT specialists, pharmacy techs, admitting and booking clerks, administrative staff, cleaning and dietary staff, and others.