On April 1, 2014, 167 registered nurses from the former NSGEU local 97 stood up to the McNeil Liberals and their Essential Services legislation (Bill 37) that stripped workers of their right to strike. Like the generations of NSGEU Nurses before them, these members showed outstanding courage in the face of a government who was determined to attack their rights.
Following the illegal strike, the CDHA suspended these nurses for two days. The NSGEU filed 167 grievances at the time. That case was heard by arbitrator Bruce Outhouse on Wednesday, January 10. The facts of the case were simple. The NSGEU argued that the suspensions were unfair in that some nurses were suspended for two 7.5-hour shifts and others for two 11.25-hour shifts. The NSGEU also argued the suspensions were excessive.
The NSHA’s initial position was that they wanted to maintain the suspensions.
Following a day of mediation arbitration, Mr. Outhouse issued an order.
Mr. Outhouse ordered that the letter of suspension be immediately removed from the personnel files of all 167 nurses. As of yesterday, those letters are now gone.
Mr. Outhouse further ordered that the suspensions be changed so that all members receive a one-day unpaid suspension and a one-day paid suspension.
Finally, Mr. Outhouse ordered that for those members who worked 11.25-hour shifts, their one day of unpaid suspension time would be for just 7.5 hours.
As a result of the order, nurses who were suspended for a total of 22.5 hours will be re-paid all but 7.5 hours of that time. Those nurses who were suspended for 15 total hours will be re-paid all but 7.5 hours of that time. Those who work 7-hour shifts will be re-paid for one 7-hour shift.
The NSGEU is not clear yet on how long it will take for the NSHA to process the repayments for all 167 Nurses. We will let you know when we learn more about the timing.
NSGEU President Jason MacLean says he is proud of all the nurses in the local for their fight that day and for the way they stood up to government in the months that followed.
“The NSGEU is proud of its nurses and their willingness to stand up to governments who try to legislate away their rights. During this time, nurses went out on the illegal strike and the legal strike a few days later. They stood up in law amendments and those nurses forced to stay at work and provide emergency services showed their support in countless ways,” said MacLean.
The NSGEU remains committed to continue to fight for nurses and all other members affected by Liberal legislation, says MacLean.
“Yesterday’s decision is just another battle in a long fight,” MacLean says. “NSGEU is continuing its constitutional challenge against the Essential Services Legislation that led to the illegal strike on April 1, 2014 and we will continue our legal challenge against the Liberal legislation which froze your retirement allowance and introduced wage restraint. We will continue to keep you updated as those challenges unfold.”
If you have any questions regarding this order please contact the Labour Resource Centre at 902-424-4063.