Despite the best efforts of the bargaining committee of Local 97 (Registered Nurses at Capital Health), mediation has proven to be unsuccessful, as this employer still refuses to address nurses’ serious concerns surrounding patient safety, scheduling and replacing sick calls.
On the important issue of recent unsafe changes to scheduling practices, the employer’s final message to nurses was “they are not prepared to undo what they have done.”
“Capital Health bureaucrats and this government are ignoring the front line workers’ cries for help and pushing nurses into a position where they are forced to either continue to work in an unsafe environment, or take action,” says President Joan Jessome.
Capital Health claims they made “significant changes” to its proposal during mediation. That is patently false.
The McNeil government has consistently interfered in the bargaining process to this point. Their interference in bargaining for home support workers last month played a key role in nurses’ talks collapsing, as Capital Health approached the bargaining process with the expectation that government would bring in essential services legislation, so there was no incentive for the employer to truly bargain in good faith.
Nurses have clearly told the NSGEU that they will not stand idly by and allow government to continue to meddle in their negotiations and introduce essential services legislation.
“McNeil should not move to silence nurses with legislation. Instead, he should listen to nurses’ concerns,” says Jessome.
In the event of strike, nurses have committed to fully staff the Emergency Room, ICUs, veterans’ care, hemodialysis and cancer care, as well as provide basic coverage in many other areas.
Capital Health’s Manager of Labour Relations, Dave Collins, confirmed in a letter dated March 19th that the employer is preparing to ensure the hospital is staffed in the event of job action: “We have now reached an impasse in conciliation and therefore it is necessary for us to being contingency planning with some urgency.”
-30-The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day. For more information or to arrange an interview with NSGEU President, Joan Jessome, please contact: Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer 424.4063 (office) 471.1781 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org