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Patients affected by illegal strike may sue Union
March 22, 2005

Several individuals who claim their surgeries were delayed last year because of a strike by the Hospital Employees’ Union may sue the HEU for damages following a recent decision by the Labour Relations Board. The Board held that the union breached the Labour Relations Code by continuing to strike after the Board ordered HEU members back to work on April 29, 2004.

The finding by the Board was a prerequisite to the individuals being able to sue the HEU in court. The lawsuit is being funded by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The HEU opposed the Board issuing the declaration, arguing there was insufficient proof that its members’ failure to return to work caused the cancellation of the surgeries. However, the Board granted the declaration on the basis that its jurisdiction was limited to determining whether the continuing strike was illegal. Whether the claim for damages will succeed should be determined by the courts.

Hipperson et al. and HEU, BCLRB No. B46/2005, February 15, 2005 (Fleming)