Today, your employer filed a complaint against the four unions representing almost 26,000 health care workers in the province (NSGEU, NSNU, Unifor and CUPE). This complaint alleges that the four new union negotiating councils (Health Care, Nursing, Administrative Professional, and Support Services) which were created as a result of the Health Authorities Act have failed to start bargaining.
In fact, your union representatives have been working diligently to get to the bargaining table since last year. We have met more than 50 times, and just last week, booked another eight meetings to prepare for bargaining.
However, as we are sure you understand, the collective bargaining process has been significantly complicated – and therefore delayed – by the Liberal government’s introduction of a number of pieces of legislation: namely Bill 37, Bill 69, and Bill 148. This legislation amalgamated the health authorities and bargaining units, and forces the unions to develop essential service staffing levels for each workplace within the NSHA and IWK. As you can imagine, this has been a substantial undertaking, but one that is well underway.
We will continue to do our best to comply with the legislation as we work towards negotiating a new collective agreement for our members.
As the lead Union for bargaining for the Health Care bargaining unit, we have worked entirely in good faith and reasonably under the circumstances. We take seriously defending our members’ collective agreement rights and benefits, and are confident that the Labour Board will dismiss this complaint.
We so appreciate the patience you have shown as we navigate this unnecessarily complicated round of bargaining.