Healthcare Bargaining Councils’ Bargaining Update – What’s Next?

Since health care workers across Nova Scotia voted 93% to ratify the mediation/ arbitration agreement with the NSHA and IWK, the unions representing those workers have done much work on the next phase of the bargaining process that will conclude new collective agreements for all four bargaining units (Health Care, Administrative Professionals, Support Services and Nursing) by the end of 2018.

Each bargaining unit will have the opportunity to bargain with the Employers for the priorities that matter most to them. Any remaining issues, where agreement can not be reached, will be decided by the mediator-arbitrator, William Kaplan.

The Health Care Bargaining Unit has been negotiating for over 18-months. Over the coming weeks The Health Care Bargaining Unit will work with union lawyers at Pink Larkin to prepare for the upcoming mediation / arbitration. That work may involve returning to the bargaining table to try to resolve as many issues as possible. The most contentious issues will go to the mediator-arbitrator. The Health Care Bargaining Committee continues to work to ensure the priorities that matter most to you will go to Mr. Kaplan with the greatest chance for an outcome in your favour.

Mr. Kaplan has now provided dates for mediation/arbitration for all four bargaining units. The Health Care Bargaining Unit mediation/arbitration will run from July 30 to August 4. The Union and the Employers have agreed that Support Services will go into mediation/arbitration second. Mr. Kaplan has set aside September 18 for that 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 and will take place on September 19. Again, this leaves time for the parties to bargain at the table and 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, does deliver 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 have started the preliminary work to create options and a system to facilitate the pay out of the retirement allowance, including looking at the system and options used by the civil service agreement. That work will continue and once a plan is ready it will be communicated to you.

The Employers are also working on a date when the retro pay will be paid out. Once a date has been determined we will communicate it to you.

This has been a long and difficult process and we thank you for your patience and support. The finish line is in sight but there is still a lot of work to do for all four bargaining units. 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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