It has come to our attention that the Minister of Health & Wellness, Leo Glavine, decided it was finally time to communicate with health care workers about the changes that are coming as a result of Bill 1.
Using employee email addresses held by all employers in the District Health Authorities, Minister Glavine sent a video message on December 9 to frontline workers. Unfortunately, much of the information in Minister Glavine’s statement is intentionally vague and misleading.
Minister Glavine assures workers that wages, benefits, retirement allowances and seniority will be protected through the arbitration process.
But you will note that he is very careful to say “protected through the arbitration process.” In all reality, in the process laid out under Bill 1, Minister Glavine cannot say with any degree of certainty what your new collective agreements will look like: the decision of who represents you, and what collective agreement you will be given, has been left in the hands of the arbitrator, James Dorsey.
Let’s also take a closer look at what Mr. Glavine says about seniority:
“- seniority and service are protected.”
He then goes on to say: “The arbitration process will help determine how seniority will be handled moving forward.”
That doesn’t sound quite as certain. Basically, it is up to the arbitrator to determine these issues, as laid out under the government’s new Health Authorities Act, not Minister Glavine.
Remeber: before the election in October 2013, the Liberals ran an ad in The Chronicle Herald. That ad stated very clearly that: “we respect and will continue to respect your hard-earned rights and collective agreements … all existing collective agreements will remain in place; all successor rights will be protected; and benefits and salaries will be carried over into the new system.” (see attached photo for the original ad, signed by Stephen McNeil). They broke their promise to respect workers’ rights with Bill 30, 37, and now, Bill 1.
We are currently in the midst of the arbitration process laid out under Bill 1, and are doing our best to ensure you remain with the NSGEU, so we can continue to protect your hard-won rights and benefits.
You can follow along on our live blog (http://nsgeu.ca/bill-1-live-blog/), or check your email for regular updates from us.
Here is a transcript of Minister Glavine’s video message:
“You wonder if your wages and benefits will be protected? The answer is yes, your benefits and wages will be protected through arbitration.
Your retirement allowances will not change through arbitration. You will maintain your vacation and sick time.
You will continue to be part of a union – seniority and service are protected.
The arbitration process will help determine how seniority will be handled moving forward.
Most of you will see virtually no change on April 1, 2015.
Almost all of you will do the same job in the same way with the same people on day one of the new provincial health authority.
But I also recognize change is difficult, I understand your concerns.
A streamlined labour relations environment will allow workers to better share resources, better collaborate and deliver better care.
A streamlined labour relations environment will open up new job opportunities by allowing healthcare workers the ability to move more easily throughout the new provincial health system.
By making these changes, we can make a good system even better.
Together we can build a system that is focussed on patients. A system that focuses on people, families and community and we all want the best possible care for patients, clients and families.
We believe our changes will improve both the quality and consistency of care across the province.”
Thank you for listening and thank you for the care you provide to Nova Scotians.