In the Fall of 2015, NSGEU held a group home bargaining strategy session, which was attended by your group home bargaining and essential services representatives. During the session, members identified a number of priority issues for bargaining. A bargaining input survey was developed with the intent of sending it out to group home members late in the year. At the time, it was anticipated that Civil Service negotiations would follow the mandate set by the Province’s negotiations with teachers, thus setting the stage for other sectors to begin negotiations.
Instead, however, the government’s Bill 148 (Public Service Sustainability Act) has led to a significant delay in the bargaining process. Bill 148 will, if proclaimed, impose a four-year wage pattern of 0%, 0%, 1%, 1.5% and, on the final day of the agreement, 0.5%. Government has taken the position that if NSGEU members reject their offer and apply for arbitration, they will simply proclaim Bill 148, which means the above-mentioned wage pattern would come into effect. Accordingly, the union has been working to ensure that all members are informed of the issues and are signed up to participate in the voting process.
Your representatives met as a group again on June 7th to discuss strategy given the new developments. With no immediate end in sight to this very frustrating round of negotiations, it was agreed that it would be premature for the group home bargaining committee to send out bargaining input sheets without having a clear idea as to when negotiations might be scheduled.
Your bargaining and essential services committees appreciate your ongoing support during this frustrating and most unusual time in bargaining.