Thousands of B.C. health care workers employed at hospitals, residential care facilities and in emergency health services have voted 96 per cent in favour of job action to back contract demands.

The 47,000 workers belong to 11 unions represented by the Facilities Bargaining Association, which is pushing for employment security, protection of benefits and improved safety provisions.

FBA spokesperson Bonnie Pearson says they're also seeking changes to the ambulance service that would
improve and enhance paramedics’ abilities to provide patient care.

“We believe that a fair and reasonable agreement is within reach if health employers abandon their
demands for contract rollbacks,” said Pearson in a written statement.

She says she hopes the unions' strong strike mandate will help focus the employer on a negotiated settlement.

Talks with the Health Employers Association began in January and broke off in late March, just before the current collective agreement expired.

The Hospital Employees’ Union represents the vast majority of workers covered by these talks.

The remainder are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, and the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Seven other unions are represented at the bargaining table by the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers Local 5.