Vancouver civic workers strike undermines MS patient's recovery

As Vancouver’s civic workers strike runs into the fall, those who suffer from debilitating health problems have more to worry about than piled-up garbage.

Brenda Worthington has multiple sclerosis. She experiences fatigue and debilitating stiffness, for which she attends yoga classes at the West End Community Centre. At least she used to.

“So far, classes have been cancelled for the fall and I’ve been crying the blues,” Worthignton told the Straight. She said that without yoga, symptoms associated with her MS will get “much worse”.

Vancouver’s labor dispute has meant all adaptive yoga classes, (specifically designed for people with conditions like MS,) have been cancelled. If Worthington logs on to her neighborhood community centre’s web site, she will be greeted by a message in bold, red type, that reads, “Due to a labour dispute, all programs, services and events are suspended and the buildings are closed until further notice.”

Worthington told the Straight that yoga exercises were very effective in dealing with the mobility problems she suffers from as a result of her MS. “And so we’re hoping that Vancouver’s strike will end soon so that classes can resume.”

Worthington’s yoga classes were designed for people who suffer from physical pain. But Allen De Genova, Vancouver park board member and liaison for the West End Community Centre, told the Straight that many in his constituency are having social and mental health problem’s exacerbated by the strike.

“It’s been painful,” De Genova said. “This summer, there has truly been a huge impact.”

He claimed that seniors were feeling the strike most acutely. “Seniors have not been able to get out,” he said. “The community centers are often there only vehicle to do so. A lot of them live on their own and they need that vehicle and the programs that encourage them to get out.”

De Genova said that the situation was the same for some of Vancouver’s youth. He asked what options there were for kids who now had nowhere to go but home to spousal abuse and drugs. “I can tell you they are not sitting there, day in and day out, until we get our act together”¦.I think we’ve had enough and I’m tired of it.”

See related stories on the Vancouver civic workers strike at

A side exit from the strike (September 27, 2007)
A strike about nothing throttles residents (September 27, 2007)
Labour expert says it will be hard for union and city to reject an agreement based on mediator's recommendations (September 26, 2007)
Library workers agree to enhanced mediation (September 26, 2007)
Vancouver civic workers strike undermines MS patient's recovery (September 21, 2007)
Civic strike harms the poor (September 13, 2007)
Is the civic workers strike exacerbating the gap between rich and poor in Vancouver? (September 13, 2007)
Sam Sullivan's strike strategy (September 13, 2007)
Suzanne Anton: Vision using strike for political gain (August 16, 2007)
Strike stalls developers (August 9, 2007)
Strike shuts down meeting (August 2, 2007)
NPA divided on strike refund (August 2, 2007)
Rats, yes, but bacteria love garbage strikes too (July 26, 2007)
Long strike could jeopardize construction (July 26, 2007)
Negotiations stalled on civic-worker contracts (June 14, 2007)