Members of the Hospital Employees Union, who work primarily as cleaners and dietary workers, have given their union a 96% strike mandate.

There are a total of 4000 members of HEU who do this kind of work including those at the Powell River hospital.

HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside is hopeful the strong strike mandate will encourage employers to reach negotiated settlements.

“We need to be providing decent wages and a stable employment for the people who clean our operating rooms, who clean our clinics, our admitting areas, our emergency rooms and provide nourishing meals to our patients and residents.”

The contracts for most of the workers expire in September of this year.

Whiteside adds that, “it’s really high times that both the health authorities and the companies to respect the work that’s done, and the workers.”

The talks cover 75 hospitals and extended care facilities, in four different health authorities, and 11 different collective agreements.