Health Care Bargaining Update: Progress made and next steps

Your Health Care Bargaining Committee has spent the past several weeks preparing for a mediation arbitration hearing set for the last week of July with mediator arbitrator William Kaplan.

The Committee has worked closely over the last eight weeks with lawyers at Pink Larkin to continue to narrow the issues and prepare our case. That work has included conducting more bargaining with the Employers at the NSHA and the IWK in order to resolve as many outstanding issues as possible in advance of the hearing.

Those bargaining discussions have led to the successful resolution of several issues. This progress is a direct result of the pressure applied to the Employers by the 93 per cent strike vote mandate, the conclusion of the IWK essential services plan and the acceptance of the mediation/arbitration resolution process. Without those achievements there is no doubt that the Employers and Government would not have been motivated to make the progress we have. However, even with this progress other key issues remain unresolved and are now likely going to be settled at the mediation arbitration.

Mr. Kaplan has provided dates for mediation/arbitration for all four bargaining units. The Health Care Bargaining Unit mediation/arbitration will run from July 30 to August 3. Mr. Kaplan has indicated he expects to issue a decision concluding the collective agreement shortly after August 3.

The Union and the Employers have agreed that Support Services will go into mediation/arbitration second.  The parties will exchange proposals on August 13 with bargaining scheduled for August 27-30.  Mr. Kaplan has set aside September 18 for the Support Services mediation arbitration. This will give the parties time to negotiate. Kaplan anticipates only one day will be required for the mediation/arbitration because many of the outstanding issues will be resolved at the Health Care table.

The parties have concluded that the Administrative Professional Bargaining Unit mediation/ arbitration will be third. Bargaining will take place on August 21, 22, and 31 with mediation/arbitration to take place on September 19. Again, the mediation/arbitration will only require a day because most outstanding issues will be resolved at the Health Care table.

The parties have agreed to send nursing to the table last. There are a number of unique nursing related issues that will need to be dealt with in bargaining and in mediation/arbitration so Mr. Kaplan set aside November 19-23 for the Nursing Bargaining Unit mediation / arbitration. The Employer and the Council of Unions mutually agreed to these dates.

The mediation/arbitration agreement, which can be found here, was ratified with 92 per cent of all four bargaining units, including members of all four unions voting in favour of the deal. It provides wage increases, retroactive pay back to 2014, protection of your current sick leave and retiree benefits, and the option for early pay out of your retirement allowance.

The Employers recently provided details to all employees on when retroactive wage increases will be paid as well as details on how they intend to facilitate the pay out of the retirement allowance for those who choose that option.

We will continue to communicate updates and information as it becomes available. If you have any questions related to your specific situation please contact the Labour Resource Center at 902-424-4063.

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