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B.C. Nurses' Union support staff on strike following lockout

B.C. Nurses' Union support staff on strike following lockout

The union representing administrative employees who work for the B.C. Nurses' Union says their employer isn't treating its staff with the same generosity it demands from its employers.

The BCNU locked out employees — members of the union Moveup — on Friday morning. The union claims that the BCNU wants to slash the employees' sick, medical appointment and family responsibility leave.

That lockout ended at 10 a.m., Friday when Moveup members voted to strike outside the union's Burnaby office

"I think it's a little much that a union that tries to portray itself as advocates for health care in Canada is turning around and attacking the very health benefits of the staff that work for them,"  MoveUP president David Black said Thursday evening.

MoveUP represents office and administrative employees who work for the BCNU. Many of those staff members gathered outside the nurses' union office in Burnaby Friday morning.

The contract between MoveUP and the BCNU expired in December, and both groups have been at the bargaining table since then.

Medical leave at issue

Black says the BCNU has told the employees the number of medical leave days that workers are permitted to take each year is the primary reason why they're being locked out.

He says the BCNU is not concerned that employees were abusing the leave, but that it's too expensive to maintain.

"This employer seems to be taking some of the pages from some of the worst employer strategy book and using bullying tactics against our members and I have to say I'm disappointed," said Black.

Gary Fane of the B.C. Nurses' Union said the appointment leave benefit is "out of control," with too many employees taking too much time off work for appointments.

Fane said the public won't be affected by the strike. Managers will fill in for the the office workers during the strike

With files from Jane Armstrong