An agreement reached today with the province will ensure every single NSGEU acute health care member will stay with the NSGEU. This deal is a critical victory for labour in the province and for NSGEU members who have fought so hard the last year to keep their right to choose their union.
Today’s agreement affects all healthcare employees of all unions who are employees of the District Health Authorities and the IWK. It resolves all the outstanding labour representation issues presented under Bill 1 (the Health Authorities Act) and ensures many of the provisions of that regressive piece of legislation will never come into force.
The key element of the deal is that as of April 1st, each of the four unions – NSGEU, NSNU, CUPE and Unifor – will continue to represent their members.
This is a significant victory for thousands of NSGEU acute health care members that this government tried to force out of their union of choice. For the past year, the NSGEU and more than 12,000 of its affected members have been engaged in a year-long battle with government to ensure workers either stay with their current union, or be given the opportunity to vote. Today, we have won that fight – together.
We will bargain collective agreements jointly within four Councils of Unions: Health Care, Nursing, Administrative Professionals (Clerical) and Support Services.
Back in July, the unions made a proposal to do almost exactly what has been agreed upon today, with only one distinction: all parties have agreed that bargaining in each Council will be led by one union.
This means that the lead union representative will serve as Chief Negotiator and the second union representative will serve as Deputy Chief Negotiator, as follows:
- Nursing negotiations will be led by a Chief Negotiator from NSNU, with a Deputy Chief Negotiator from the NSGEU;
- Health Care negotiations will be led by a Chief Negotiator from NSGEU, with a Deputy Chief Negotiator from CUPE;
- Administrative Professionals (formerly known as Clerical) negotiations will be led by a Chief Negotiator from CUPE, with a Deputy Chief Negotiator from the NSGEU;
- Support Services negotiations will be led by a Chief Negotiator from Unifor, with a Deputy Chief Negotiator from the NSGEU.
Another key element is that the number of people from each union who will form the bargaining committees will be based on the proportion of members that each union has. So, for example, NSGEU will have the majority of bargaining committee members for Administrative Professional, Healthcare and Support and will have the second most in Nursing. This will ensure issues affecting NSGEU members will be addressed at every single table.
All unions will continue to represent their interests outside of collective bargaining, as well.
We know that this has been a tremendously difficult time for all our members. From the very beginning, the NSGEU’s goal has been to continue to represent the members we currently represent, and we are very pleased that we have accomplished that goal. The support and patience that has shown by you – the members – has been so appreciated.
We will send more information out about the Health Councils as soon as possible.