What a difference three days can make

Today, The Vancouver Sun reported "a bid for a class action lawsuit by patients whose health care was interrupted and delayed by an illegal Hospital Employees Union strike moved forward Monday. The Supreme Court of B.C. rejected an application from the HEU to quash an earlier decision of the Labour Relations Board that declared last year's strike by more than 40,000 health support workers illegal. That means the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, which is organizing and funding the lawsuit on behalf of affected patients, can proceed with efforts to have the lawsuit certified as a class action." Public Eye broke that story on Friday - the day the decision was, in fact, handed down.

30 Comments

Yeah..that's really smart..sue the poor buggers whose jobs and wages have already been jeopardized by the Campbell government.

Do you think sueing them will make them more or less inclined to look after your loved ones when they are hospitalized?

HEU and it's members should sue the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, BC Liberals, Fraser Insitute and the media for defamation for labelling HEU's contract (before the Liberals took power) as a "sweet heart deal" Not to mention alot of other crap that has been said about HEU and it's workers. One Liberal MLA called HEU workers "toilet cleaners"

And of course we can't forget the illegal contract breaking by the government of the HEU's contract.

Oh nonsense,

I see it as an illegal payoff by the NDP to a major campaign supporter who provided kickbacks of campaign donations and free campaign workers to the NDP. Of course that irreponsible contract had to be broken.

Was it a sweetheart deal signed in the dying days of a socialist administration? Why yes. Are there HEU employees who clean toilets? Yes.

Is contract breaking by a legislature illegal? No. By definition.

George

Good thing you don't have to swear to your claims authenticity in court.

I don't understand why people think unions should be above the law - they don't represent everyone, they represent their own members only. Everyone, on the other hand, gets a secret ballot to elect government. And government makes the laws. And people were hurt by the HEU executive choosing to break those laws. If they weren't allowed to be sued, what kind of a society do we live in. Repeat - unions are not above the law.

The reality is (no matter how valid or invalid the HEU beef is) that they knew full well that they were violating the court order when they pulled their walkout.

Now, is it a little rich for the CTF to be pulling this stunt? Absolutely. They are a bunch of total wankers.

But should the government or health authority had the guts to do this on behalf of the inconvenienced patients? Absolutely--but it would have been messy as hell.

In the end, the lawsuit has only been launched--it has not succeeded, and I suspect it won't.

But people and organizations that give the court the middle finger should be prepared to be accountable for their actions. It's called the rule of law.

The insincerity of George and wood is obvious, but still needs to be labelled as such. The contract that the HEU had was legal, as George knows. The Government's cynical abuse of its lawmaking power to break these contracts is much closer to contempt of the Legislature than anything that private citizens, such as the railroaded and disenfranchised HEU workers could possibly do.

wood gives the game away when he ridicules the affected workers as "workers who clean toilet bowls". What wood and George and the Liberals want to do is give these jobs to businesses that are owned by Liberals, in other words, the principles of Sponsorhip applied to BC's health system. That's when the kickbacks will start, and George knows it.

Thanks to people like George and wood, this is the kind of Govt we have in BC, and I cannot wait to be rid of it in 2009.

And we have the Green Party and that "thing" they call a leader, to thank for the Nazi's being re-elected. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know the Nazi's fund the Greens.

There have been many arguments raised, based on voting trends and actual votes cast, to try and determine if the Green vote actually made the difference for the Libs this time around. The fact is the BC Greens and their power hungry leader should have backed off like the US Greens did in 2004. Everybody knows Nader and the Greens put Bush in power in 2000..when will BC Greens acknowledge their part in destroying BC's environment by allowing GC and his Republican Party agenda to once more make this province their bitch.

The reason the greens and nd's can't get it together is that we greens feel betrayed by 10 years of NDP rule. Period.

Chain Gang can bitch about the "nazi's" (which is frankly repugnant and has zero place on any site) but the greens feel strongly that their issues were sacrificed at the expense of other (read forest union) needs by NDP politicians for 10 years.

We endured 10 crappy years under the NDP where we got screwed. We can live with another few until we get STV and get our voice in the legislature--which would never happen under the NDP.

It is interesting to note that the Lib’s took the pre-emptive Bill 12 movement prior to actual BCTF strike action, thus making ANY such strike illegal. One has to wonder how many lawyers will be getting into the litigation lineup to take a siphon to the BCTF’s rather well funded coffers. Liability and class action lawsuits can be such nasty things. Looks like the BCTF will get some of its own medicine for a change.

Hey BUDDy,

George is quite sincere and the people here who around here who know me can verify that. I believe that both the big union and big business cronies need to be removed from the election process and this example shows the direct corruption of the NDP way of doing business.
You presume I'm a BC Liberal voter, well, I voted Reform BC in the last election.

As much as I dislike the government use of legislation to deal with contracts, given the nature of the public sector, it has become the only option.

Within the private sector the nature of the negotiations are very different. The CAW clearly knows that it can only go so far before it will put a business under. If the business goes under all the jobs are gone. The public sector unions have understood that the government can not go out of business and must deliver the service. The government has no leverage other than legislation.

I must comment on the Liberal\Nazi illusion in an earlier comment. The ideology most directly opposed to Nazism/Facism is Liberalism. Liberals are for free trade, free markets, free association, human rights etc.... Nazis are a collectivist politics based around tribalism/nationlism.

Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals are classic Liberals.

And finally Greens and NDP are ideologically not the same. As an Ipsos Ried poll showed before the election, the Green voters were 40% NDP second choice, 30% Liberal second and 30% would not vote if there was not a Green.

Green politics are not naturally connected to the collectivist/statist type of approach that has typified the social democractic left. The confusion of left and green being connected comes in large part because the first successful Green Party was in Germany and it was effective a 1060s generation youth break away from the Social Democrats.

Greens and enviromentalists have often been very anti worker, anti union. Having been within the Greens and the environmental movement, I have seen the racism against aboriginal people because they want to hunt and fish and log. I have seen the hatred of the mill workers. The people who have spit on the loggers at Kennedy River bridge - men that do some of the hardest and most skilled work in our society.

"Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals are classic Liberals"

Bernard...you must be trolling for something here..what could it be?
Oh..I know..your're trying to ridicule the BC Liberals..how subversive of you.
The BC Liberals are "classic liberals" like George Bush is a "true christian"..in other words both these extreme right wing, self serving entities fit those labels in name only.

I have my doubts that 30% of people who actually voted Green would vote for the Liberal Party. I can't think of a greater contradiction. Of course the Greens do have a leader who emulates Gordon Campbell's unbridled lust for power at any cost.

I asked my son, who was arrested at the Kennedy Lake bridge in 1993, what he remembers about protesters spitting at loggers and he saw nothing of the sort. Even his grandmother was proud of the stand he took. Merv Wilkinson, his wife and 4 UBC/UVIC profs were arraigned alongside him.

Bernard:

Provide a link to the details of that poll. It's as useful as the mythical poll that Jim Harris often quoted that his base federally was more Lib/Conservative than NDP. Oh, and the 40% who don't vote because they're disillusioned and waiting for a saviour like Jim to come along.

"George is quite sincere and the people here who around here who know me can verify that. I believe that both the big union and big business cronies need to be removed from the election process and this example shows the direct corruption of the NDP way of doing business.
You presume I'm a BC Liberal voter, well, I voted Reform BC in the last election."

George, I will forgive you your insincerity but not the tortured wording of your first sentence. I know typing time is limited in Canada's prisons, but please, do pay attention to grammar for the sake of the reader. Should political contributions by business and labour be banned, as in Manitoba under an NDP Govt? Yes, I agree.

But this was not your point. Instead you falsely claimed that the HEU's contract was illegal and was the result of kickbacks, an utterly false statement. There were no kickbacks, any HEU donations would have been public record, just a big mining industry donations to the BC Liberals are public record, in stark contrast to kickbacks to individual Ministers or Govt officials.

As for voting BC Reform, I didn't know they were still trying to run candidates. This is news to me.

"As much as I dislike the government use of legislation to deal with contracts, given the nature of the public sector, it has become the only option."

So Bernard, if it is the only option, why the dislike? Obviously you have outgunned George in the insincerity department, a political strategy not entirely unknown in Barlee-Geoghegan country.

In Alberta and Ontario teachers, and other non-teaching staff in the school system, have the right to strike and have used it. How is BC so different? It's just pure, raw, electoral politics and you know it.


The HEU can thank Chris Allnutt for its current predicament, and they dumped him in recognition of this fact.
Why is legislation necessary to settle labour disputes in the provincial public sector? Budd asks "How is BC so different (from Alberta and Ontario)". Where to begin?
Crucial differences my be observed in the case of the BCTF. It is not so much a union as a cult. It has no respect for the truth, no respect for the law and no respect for the rights of others. It has never bargained in good faith. Last year the K-12 monopoly which employs its members burned through over $5 Billion of taxpayer's money, an all-time record. This year they demand an additional $700 Million to $1 Billion. Under the terms of the current contract BCTF members work half as much (1110 hrs/yr) and are paid twice as much (over $65K at top of grid) as the average Canadian taxpayer and the only measurement applied to their job performance is seniority. While costs have doubled over the last 20 years, student achievement remains mediocre at best. University entrants who have high-school grades of 86% and better require remedial instruction in study skills, spelling and grammar, despite 12 years of "care" at the hands of this "union of professionals". Its oft-stated devotion to the well-being of students is demonstrably false. Its own mission statement places the interests of its members above all others. Its crackpot ideology, control of the provincial NDP and limitless greed are legendary. It forced an NDP government to legislate its CUPE brothers and sisters back to work, an event which is still a source of rancour within the house of labour (one of the many sins of Ujjal Dosanjh, according to union mythology).
Budd knows that the Ontario Liberals sold out to the teacher unions in exchange for their support in the last election in that province (a big part of the staggering deficit they now face), and that the Alberta government can afford to pay off every squeaky wheel with petro-dollars. If the Campbell government had any sense, de-certification would be enacted and teachers would have to meet the expectations of parents and taxpayers instead of the other way around.

steve

Them's fightin' words.
Showdown at dusk..pistols at 50 paces or C4 with remote detonation or how about a good old contract tear up.

"It has no respect for the truth, no respect for the law and no respect for the rights of others. It has never bargained in good faith."

This bold statement could be used to describe Campbell's government. A poll with the question of who best fits that quote is in order. I think the results might surprise you Steve.

Well, Steve Hopkins, I think you have made it clear that you are part of the Liberal political machine, especially since you have so many cooked factoids at your fingertips. Can I just ask that you disclose for all of us what your own salary and benefits are as a paid employee of the Liberal Party? Or would that be prying into an area of privacy?

Teachers are honest, dedicated, conscientious people by and large, which is the main reason why they attract the hostility of people like you Steve.

Budd and Sleep both know that political parties are, by definition, corrupt. That's why only about 10% of the population belongs to one (I am not part of that 10%). Similarly, politicians are all for sale to the highest bidder, and anyone who thinks they mean or believe any of the things they say is willfully blind to the lessons of history.
Teachers may be saints, but their union is a different matter. Sure, go after me, but the facts as stated are all easily verifiable. That's probably why neither of you addressed them. As usual in political discussions, the truth hurts.

Steve Hopkins:

While I do agree that Chris Allnutt did not do any favors for HEU, he is not the one to fully blame.

It was Jim Sinclair who "sold out" the HEU by agreeing to a deal in which workers wages were rolled back by 15%.

HEU had the support of the public and many other unions during their strike and could have brought the government to his knees, had it not be for "Sellout" Sinclair.

The HEU cannot ignore court orders.

Fine the buggers, BIG TIME.

Greedy Public sector unions are the root cause of much of what is wrong in Canada. Our public health delivery system suffers because of the rotten, self-centered greed of the monopolistic unions that hold patients and taxpayers to ransom.

Break the public sector unions up into much smaller bargaining units, or just get rid of them.

They are just completely out of touch with the reality of having to work for a living and EARN money, not squeeze it out of taxpayers.

Long live the Fraser Institute and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation . . . they speak for US.

Steve, surely you are not so self-absorbed as to believe that your stilted monologues and diatribes amount to facts?

BC teachers claim that their wages have fallen significantly behind those paid to their Alberta and Ontario counterparts. Normally, such an argument would carry considerable weight. But not once you're through dismissing such a wage comparison on the grounds that Alberta oil wealth and Ontario debt-financed political concessions are behind the pay incrases. Does oil wealth help Alberta pay for teachers, along with all other public goods and services? Of course, but if they have upped their pay offer to teachers or anyone else, BC has to be willing to compete with that pay offer or else face the consequences in terms of labour shortages. Did Ontario raise teachers' pay by going into significant debt/deficit? Of course not, this is pure BC baloney, an outright fabrication, and you know it.

Steve, your idea of facts is pretty much the same as Lucille Humphreys, which is whatever your political imagination chooses to call facts.

"Long live the Fraser Institute and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation . . . they speak for US."

You got that right fred..they do speak for US..the United States.
Business leaders would like nothing better than to have all public servants making $10-$12/hour. When this finally happens..we will be fully integrated with the US and there will be many more jobs to be had as prison guards, gun shop clerks, security guards and in burglar alarm sales and installation.

Earth to fred: your vaunted 'free enterprise' system is actually leading to totalitarianism which is as bad or worse than what Russians endured under Stalin.

Steve

Those stats are so boring..gonna hafta be in the mood to have a crack at them but I think many teachers would take issue with the 1110 hours/yr figure.

According to BDO Dunwoody, in Ontario the budget deficit for the 2004-05 fiscal year is now projected to be $3 billion, up from the original estimate of $2.2 billion in last year's budget. The result is actually even worse when one takes into account that the original estimate contained a $1 billion reserve for contingencies and the revised deficit estimate does not. Only a slight improvement is projected for 2005-06, as a deficit of $2.8 billion is projected. As a result, Ontarians pay a personal income tax rate of 46.41% and a retail sales tax rate of 8%, compared to 43.7% and 7% respectively in BC.
If teachers' greed leads them to leave for higher pay in the East, no-one's stopping them. The only cause of labour shortages in K-12 is an extremely generous early-retirement incentive plan designed to get rid of high-cost, high-seniority teachers, and the fact that 50% of new teachers leave the business after 5 years on the job. Why? They're tired of seeing the deadwood get automatic raises based solely on seniority, not ability. They recognize that anyone with a brain and some ambition can do better in almost any other field. The only excuse for ignorance of the facts is intellectual laziness. None of this is just my opinion, nor is it secret information.

BCTF was one of many unions (along with "Sellout" Sinclair) that voted to accept the 15% rollback of HEU members. It's quite ironic now the BCTF find themselves in a similar position.

Nice try CG. The BCTF were prepared to walk out in support of the HEU had the "sellout" not been arranged, but one union does not get to vote on another's contract.

Steve: "None of this is just my opinion, nor is it secret information." If this is so where can I read the poll of people leaving the teaching profession who cite "tired of seeing the deadwood get automatic raises based solely on seniority, not ability" as the #1 reason for doing so?

Also, while I find it disconcerting that some people think that contracts entered into by one government should not be binding upon the next, at least we won't hear any complaining from the right when an NDP government starts tearing up all the sweetheart deals Gordo has signed with his private sector benefactors.

You can argue corruption in political parties and unions all damn day, the fact is that there is corruption and bullshit bureaucracy in all major political parties in this province and as I've seen it, most unions as well

Liberals are much more for privatization than the NDP, I guess thats why I voted NDP

privatization is a bad thing for working (middle class) people, which is the majority of people in this province
private corporations are always trying to increase profit, the best way to do so is to lower costs, and a major part of costs is your employees
therefore public owned corporations are much more likely to treat there employees well
as long as there isn't a pro-privatization government screwing with their contracts

this is why I vote as far from privatization and tax cuts for big buisness as possible, to help the every day working people
and I support any mass group of working people trying to get a fair contract

I'm just hoping the NDP in this province stop alienating the Unions they represent and actually take up the fight for the working people

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