Health Care Bargaining Year End Update

Health care bargaining will continue to move forward in the New Year. The Nova Scotia Council of Health Care Unions, NSHA, and IWK completed three days of conciliation in November.  While these days provided good discussion and some important progress towards a new collective agreement there is still a lot of work to do. Both sides are scheduled to meet again in January for another five days.

These continue to be a complex set of negotiations that require bringing together collective agreements from all four unions (NSGEU, CUPE, Unifor and NSNU) in the acute care and community care sectors.

So far, the parties have held 27 bargaining dates.

This was made necessary when the provincial Liberal government created a single provincial health authority.

Despite the progress, a number of very significant items remain outstanding including job posting, job security, sick leave, group benefits, retiree benefits, vacation scheduling, leaves, overtime, hours of work, and more.

This remains a long and challenging process but the Council of Health Care Unions is working well together to make sure progress continues on your behalf.

The task was made much more difficult when the provincial Liberal government enacted legislation freezing the retirement allowance for members and imposing wage restraint including two years of zero per cent increases.

In the meantime, the Council of Health Care Unions continues to work toward completing an essential services agreement with the IWK and NSHA. This agreement is being negotiated for the first time and was required by another Liberal Government piece of legislation, Bill 37. The legislation requires a high number of people to remain at work in the event of a strike, but leaves it to the parties to determine the exact numbers.

The essential services agreement covers all 6,500 health care bargaining unit member across the province, making it a very complex task. The Liberal legislation prohibits the health care unions from conducting a strike until an essential services agreement is reached. This, of course, has limited the Council’s leverage at the bargaining table as it attempts to negotiate new collective agreements. Once the essential services negotiations are complete in the coming months, the Council expects to make more progress in bargaining new collective agreements.

The Employers’ essential services negotiators walked away from the table in the summer and have refused to come back. We believe the Employers will return to the table to review the completed plan.

The Council of Health Care Unions bargaining committee is made up of six members from NSGEU, three from CUPE and one from Unifor. The NSNU is also part of the Health Care Council. Health Care Bargaining Council is the lead table in this round of health care negotiations. The committees representing administrative professionals, support and nursing are preparing to start their bargaining once an agreement is reached in health care.

While Health Care bargaining continues our members in the Civil Service, with the assistance of an arbitrator, have a new collective agreement in place. This agreement applies only to members covered under the Civil Service Master Agreement.

It is our hope that the New Year will bring a new collective agreement for our health care members.

For more information contact a member of the Health Care Bargaining Committee:

Patrick Daigle

Monika Harvey

Donna Kline

Allan Lapierre

Peter Perry

Cindy Smith-MacDonald

Shawn Fuller, Chief Negotiator

6 Responses to Health Care Bargaining Year End Update

  1. whatsthepoint January 10, 2018 at 12:47 pm #

    This is so crazy!! 3 years without a contract..NO COST OF LIVING allowance! The list goes on!!!

    • Deedee Slye January 17, 2018 at 3:25 pm #

      Sorry for the delay, and thanks for your comment.

  2. Adam Turetzek-Windsor February 14, 2018 at 10:57 am #

    Any further update from the sit-downs in January? Are there more dates for February and March?

    • Deedee Slye February 15, 2018 at 3:33 pm #

      Hey there – hope you received our update – but if you didn’t : Health Care Bargaining will continue on the following dates; February 26, 27, March 19, 20, 21, April 10, 11,12, May 2, 3, 4. Other dates may be booked during these four months if required.

  3. Debbe Isnor March 7, 2018 at 2:47 pm #

    Why is it that contracts are bargained in arrears and not before the contract ends. I know of other companies that actually do this and it makes better sense. He we are 4 years now without a contract and when you finally do get around to getting one it will be outdated the day it is approved. Make not a lick of sense to me.

    • Deedee Slye March 7, 2018 at 4:02 pm #

      Hello there, I see you are with health. This time around, it has been longer than usual because the government brought in Bill 37 which requires an agreement on essential services prior to bargaining. This means that staffing needs to be assessed on every floor and department and essential services numbers agreed to. As well, the merger of health authorities has slowed down the process – the government brought in Bill 1, which was found to be unconstitutional by an arbitrator and was followed by Bill 69 which creates Health Care Bargaining Councils (Administrative Professionals, Health Care, Nursing, Support). Your Bargaining Committees are doing their best in a very complicated situation and they understand your frustration. Thank you very much for your comment.

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