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Government Interference Leads to Conciliation Breaking Down

Talks between NSGEU Local 97 Nurses and Capital Health have broken off after just one day of conciliation.

“The employer came to the table at 4:18 p.m. and said they would no longer continue to bargain while the Union had nurse to patient ratios on the table,” says President Joan Jessome.

“Capital Health and the provincial government are ignoring the nurses’ main bargaining issue. Nurses are adamant about achieving nurse to patient ratios to improve patient safety. Nurses know ratios mean better patient care, faster recoveries and safer hospitals. The McNeil government should be listening to nurses on safety, not ignoring them.”

Jessome says the McNeil government’s interference in bargaining for home support workers last month played a key role in nurses’ talks collapsing.

“Capital Health bargained like it expected the McNeil government to bring in essential services legislation in the event it couldn’t reach a deal. That interference meant Capital Health felt no pressure to reach a deal,” Jessome adds.

Capital Health also refused to negotiate reasonable emergency service coverage in the event of a strike.

“Nurses are committed to providing emergency services. There will be full coverage in the Emergency Room, ICUs, veterans’ care, hemodialysis and cancer care. Nurses will provide basic coverage in other areas. But Capital Health even refused the Union’s offer of an arbitrator to decide appropriate levels of coverage in the event of not being able to reach an agreement on levels of care in specific areas, something the parties had agreed to in past rounds of negotiations,” says Jessome.

“The McNeil government has decided to participate in blackmail bargaining rather than listen to nurses’ real concerns about patient safety. That is a mistake.”

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The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day.

For more information or to arrange an interview with NSGEU President, Joan Jessome, please contact:
Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer
424.4063 (office)
471.1781 (cell)
hfraughton@nsgeu.ca

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