Health Care Administrative Professionals Vote Reminder & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ
The ratification vote for your tentative collective agreement, which your bargaining committee is recommending for acceptance, opened yesterday morning. The vote remains open until Monday at 4 p.m.
We have received a number of questions following our information sessions and since the vote opened. For clarity’s sake, we’ve prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that may assist you:
Q. This is just a rejection vote. If we reject, doesn’t that mean we just return to the table to get a better deal?
A. No. If the bargaining unit rejects this deal, which was reached during Conciliation, it is highly unlikely the employer will improve its offer based only on a rejection. As the union stated during the town hall discussions, any significant improvement will require a strike vote, strong strike mandate, and quite possibly a strike. That is because many other bargaining units across the province have agreed to accept offers with the same economic adjustments. Any attempt to improve that pattern would require a great deal of pressure.
Q. Inflation exceeds the offer made by the employer. Why should I vote to accept that?
A. Inflation has been very high the last two years. It has had a big impact on the value of members’ take-home wages. This is a serious problem. The 3.5 percent increase over 2022 -2023 helps offset inflation of 3.3 percent in the previous year. This agreement concludes on October 31st, 2023, and as a result, does part of the job of catching up to inflation. The remaining catch-up needs to happen in the next round of bargaining, which will begin with an increase on November 1st, 2023.
In other words, the union will negotiate another wage increase effective November 1st, 2023 that will continue the fight to offset inflation.
Your bargaining committee is well aware of the effects of inflation and this agreement starts to address it, but we know more needs to be done.
Q. Why is the bargaining committee recommending we accept this offer?
A. Your committee is confident that, after many long days at the table with the employers, this is the best possible deal that could be achieved in negotiations. The wage pattern is the same as was recommended and ratified by Health Care and Support Services.
Q. If this offer is accepted, how long before we receive our retroactive wages?
A. The NSH and IWK will need some time to make the appropriate pay adjustments. They have not yet informed the unions of exactly how long it will take before money is paid out. However, that process normally takes about eight weeks. The union and your employer will provide a better time estimate after the agreement is concluded.
Q. If we reject the deal, how long before we would be in a position to go on strike?
A. In order to go on strike, the unions would have to conduct a province-wide strike vote. That would take some time as it requires ensuring we obtain as many votes as possible to ensure a strong strike mandate.
Under legislation passed by the previous Liberal government the unions are also required to complete an essential services plan with the employers.
That detailed plan determines who will remain at work on what day in every workplace in the province during a strike.
That plan requires further negotiation between the unions and the NSH and IWK. If an agreement cannot be reached, the matter is sent to the Labour Board for final decision. The Labour Board has 30 days to make a decision once it receives the dispute.
Once the parties have a plan, the union is then required by law to wait another two weeks before going on strike.
As a result, a number of steps need to be taken before a strike can happen.
Q. If a strike were to occur, how long would we be out?
A. There is no way to answer that question, as there are many factors involved and we cannot predict the response of the employers. In NSGEU history, we have supported members through strikes that lasted days as well as months.
Q. The Town Halls and this Q&A helped to answer my questions – but I still have some unanswered questions. What do I do?
A. Please contact the Union Resource Centre and your questions will be forwarded to the appropriate person. You also can email the NSGEU Deputy Chief Negotiator, Tammy Young at firstname.lastname@example.org. We understand that there is a lot of information sharing happening on social media and through discussions at the workplace. We would caution members that all information provided through those forums may not be completely accurate, so please ensure that you are getting accurate information.
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