Health Care Bargaining Groups: Update on Overtime Interpretation Issue

Earlier today, the Nova Scotia Health Authority and IWK sent employees a communication stating that they would be ending their punitive reinterpretation of your contracts overtime language.

Thanks to all of you for your dedication in seeing this through. You were strong and united, stood your ground and the employer has decided to “revert to our previous practice on the application of the Overtime language in the four contracts” in health care, support services, administration and nursing.

While the employer adds the caveat, while they “work through a resolution with the unions on this issue,” let me be absolutely clear: this reversal is the only resolution. We will not accept a return to the employer’s interpretation. This has been the NSGEU’s position since day one.

I raised this issue with Minister of Labour Relations Mark Furey, the Minister of Health and Wellness Randy Delorey over that last two months and had direct conversations with the NSHA. As well, NSGEU representatives met with the NSHA to discuss the issue. During all these meetings, we made it very clear that health care workers are feeling undervalued by their employer, and that the OT changes are placing additional pressures on the health care system, the people who deliver that care, and all Nova Scotians.

Let’s look at this as a victory, and a first step towards ending the health care crisis in Nova Scotia. At the same time, we need to continue to present urgent issues to this government and your employers. There are still staff shortages throughout the system that must be addressed.

You all deserve credit on achieving this reversal. The united pressure you all brought to bear on this issue has forced the government to change. Working together, I know we can bring about even more changes to our broken system for the benefit of all of you and all the people you serve.

In solidarity,

Jason MacLean

President, NSGEU

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