Civil Service Bargaining Update

Good afternoon,

Yesterday, thousands of teachers represented by the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union voted to reject the tentative agreement that was recommended to them by their bargaining committee and leadership. This agreement was virtually identical to the agreement your bargaining committee grudgingly recommended to you: it contains the same wage patterns, and the discontinuance of the long-service award. There are no significant improvements, but you would maintain a crucial job security provision that currently exists as a Memorandum of Agreement.

Your bargaining committee reluctantly made the decision to recommend this tentative agreement to you, the membership, because:

  1. We expected teachers were going to ratify their agreement, thereby establishing a wage pattern for the entire public sector;
  2. Trusted sources inside government advised us that legislation that would impose a far worse collective agreement upon you had already been prepared, and would be passed if the committee refused to recommend acceptance of the tentative agreement;

However, that situation has changed: teachers have rejected the agreement, and the Premier publicly made statements denying legislation was prepared:

Meanwhile on Friday, Premier Stephen McNeil denied contracts would be forced on anyone.

“There’s not been legislation that’s been reported that we were going to force a wage pattern on people,” McNeil said.

“I won’t say we didn’t look at that at one point. It’s not something we had contemplated doing. I mean every government including the former New Democratic government looked at all of their options,” he said. 

“Was I legislating a wage pattern? No, I wasn’t.”

Based on this, I decided the best course of action would be to meet again with your bargaining committee to reevaluate our options.

However, the government seems to feel it is incumbent upon them to decide when you will vote on their tentative agreement. They sent us a letter on Wednesday afternoon, essentially threatening that if we do not take the agreement to the membership for a vote by the end of the weekend, they would rescind their offer.

This type of behaviour is unacceptable and, quite honestly, childish.

I have arranged emergency conference calls with your bargaining committee tomorrow to discuss our path forward and will share next steps with you as soon as possible.

I appreciate the patience you have shown during this process.

In solidarity,

Joan Jessome

12 Responses to Civil Service Bargaining Update

  1. Shawn December 3, 2015 at 12:26 am #

    First off I am not a member of the NSGEU but I fully support your endeavor. As a teacher and as a former NSTU PE member (yes I am the one member who voted no and resigned after the tentative agreement) I personally want to thank you for quickly organizing a response to this deplorable tactic by the government and Mr. King( I cannot believe that they of all people would try to use the collective bargaining position to try to pressure you- I didn’t think they knew what the term means). I trust that your decision will be in the best interest of unionism and it’s plight going forward with an unreasonable and unrealistic Liberal government. My own actions, on this gun to the head negotiations tactic, was not a defiant act against my own union but as a stance for those members I had represented in my position against a government that continues to feel compelled to abuse and degrade those that give high quality service for the public of Nova Scotia. I also had, and continue to have, faith in the membership of the NSTU to take a stand against an attack on their profession and hope that you also see their resolve as a positive influence. I see the value of the civil service every day as a teacher, a patient in health care ; or as a citizen who relies on public services. Sadly this government doesn’t see that value through the same perspective. Thankfully I have my own union and yours to continue to remind them that my perspective is not only important but deserves to be respected. All the best.

  2. Joey MacNeil December 3, 2015 at 9:12 am #

    I believe the NSGEU should name who from govt threaten the union with a legislated contract because the Premier is now saying that didn’t happen. If the NSGEU doesn’t give a name than there is an issue of credibility here. One of you is telling fibs.

    • Deedee Slye December 3, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

      Thank you for your comments. A CBC reporter, Jean Laroche confirmed that the Premier’s office had legislation drafted – I believe his tweet went out – Feb. 20 at 2:20pm. It’s amazing that this wasn’t picked up by more media.

  3. John December 3, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    I want to vote……………

    • Deedee Slye December 3, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

      Thank you for your comments and you will definitely be voting, as is your right. Your Bargaining Committee is meeting tonight at 7pm – stay tuned for more information and updates.

      • Mike December 4, 2015 at 8:19 am #

        Some members have received voting information, many have not. On the voting information form it indicates voting began December 1, 2015

        • Deedee Slye December 4, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

          Hello there Mike, good point – we did mail out voting information to those Civil Service members who we do not have a current email for. If you received this information, please hold on to the PIN and keep it in a safe place. You may need it to vote in future. The rest of the membership will be receiving their voting information by email once voting dates have been confirmed.

  4. Nicole K December 3, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    I congratulate you on dismissing this means of intimation used by the government. As a member of local 119, I look forward to how you will continue to fight for our rights and ignore this government when it tries to force us to agree to everything they want.

  5. Sam December 4, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    I think the days of the NSGEU employees being an accepting, quiet bunch are over. I have worked for government for a long time and people that have never had any interest in the bargaining process are sending emails and attending conference calls. We are not happy. The NSGEU members have not gotten the raises that nurses and teachers have gotten historically so this new deal is unacceptable and we are willing to call the Premiers bluff. No more fear mongering from NSGEU executives that the premier will legislate us back etc. If he does, he is the bad guy. But look like you are trying at least. NSGEU executives must realize this union is important too, not just nurses or teachers. Most importantly, to give up our long service awards which represent 2% a year of our salary is not acceptable. Compounded, this is a major set back to retirement plans. I would accept a 1% increase if it meant we kept the long service bonuses. Since this is a deferred benefit Premier McNeil could save face as it doesn’t affect his budget for the next couple of years and employees would win in the future. We can’t give up any more, first we gave up our gov’t guarantee to fully fund our pension if it gets offside in the last bargaining. We can’t give up anymore benefits. It would be acceptable to me to accept 1%,1%1% and keep the long service award, or even 0%, 1%, 2%. with the long service award. I don’t believe we should bargain for longer periods. But I want to see NSGEU executives try a little harder at the bargaining process for us. This is not the time to bend over. thank you.

  6. Sam December 9, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    I see on the web site that local 49 just ratified the agreement at 2%,2%, 3% (2014-2015-2016). Also that Local 79 just agree to 1.5%, 1.75%, and 1.75% (same period). that’s fine, you can just present us with the same deal. I am sure we would approve that.

    If I see a 0 deal come in my next quest will be to change the executives of the union. It will be time to leave Joan Jessome, you can go work for the nurses.

  7. Brad December 11, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

    I will only vote yes on this deal if the Government allows:

    1) the public service award in its current form and does NOT change for “current” members. Current members use this for retirement planning and deserve to continue with that as thank you for the service provided to the Province. If they want to remove it for new members, fine…. eventually it will go away like this Government wants. They just need to understand that this is something current members deserve.


    2) I have decided that the a wage increase for 2015 is not going to happen. So I’m fine with that. But I’m not fine with 0% in 2016.

    I believe both suggestions above would not break the Governments back, and would be a fairer deal to the Public Servants of this Province….

    However, I will CONSIDER, voting YES if they follow suggestion #1 and not suggestion #2.

    If they keep the cuts to the public service award, we deserve at least a 1% raise in 2016. But I prefer the suggestion #1.

    But I will not agree and vote YES in the current form of this so-called agreement.

  8. Chad January 21, 2016 at 8:44 am #

    I think it can be said with confidence that there will be no wage increases for a couple years, that said I have to bring up the “old adage” time is money. Currently we have Family Medical time, It only covers some family members, and I’m sure people have had to stretch the truth to get these days based on different scenarios or family situations that didn’t meet the criteria. Why is it we are not asking for “Personal Days” this way no criteria has to be met in order to use them for whatever the individual wants. Also little things go a far way, a couple examples Christmas Eve, instead of a half day give us a full day, this is a huge waste of time, and money for the employee and the employer. Also possibly a half day New Year eve, these are hours NSGEU have off over the holiday why not us. The thing the employer has to think along with the membership is that ALL of the sitting cabinet are off anyway with pay so they could care less about who is at work. Again I have to stress the fact that money is not realistic this time around, and we have to resolve to that fact. But time to a person equates to money, so along with job security, personal days and the holidays should be the next priority in my opinion.

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