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BCNU raid wins support of thousands of licensed practical nurses

The British Columbia Nurses' Union has succeeded in its bid to represent some 7,200 licensed practical nurses who have been represented by other unions.

The LPN's at British Columbia's five regional health authorities and Providence Health Care voted 69 percent in favour of moving to the BCNU from the Hospital Employees’ Union, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the BC Government and Services Employees’ Union.

The vote will bring greater unity to the nursing profession in the province, BCNU president Debra McPherson said in a news release. "Our commitment to our new LPN members is to work as hard for them to improve patient care and practice conditions as we do for our current members," she said.

In a statement to LPNs posted on the HEU website, business manager Bonnie Pearson said, "Obviously, this is a disappointing outcome for HEU. But at the same time we're very proud of our campaign against this very divisive raid on our membership.

"LPNs who will now find themselves members of BCNU will have to work hard to protect these gains given BCNU's long history of opposition to the expanded utilization of LPNs." The HEU will continue to represent the majority of LPNs at longterm care facilities, she said.

The B.C. Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress suspended the BCNU in 2009 due to an earlier attempt to raid LPNs from other unions.

The Labour Relations Board is expected to certify the BCNU to represent the LPNs next week.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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