Licensed Practical Nurses in Former CDHA Locations Receive Pay Increase for Greater Responsibilities

After a six-year struggle, LPNs who work at former CDHA locations will finally see fair recognition for the work they do.

Arbitrator Lorraine Lafferty issued a consent award that is effective today, June 15th, that concludes a long-standing classification review of the LPNs who work in former CDHA positions represented by the NSGEU.

The Lafferty award will see all NSGEU LPNs who work in locations covered by the former CDHA receive a 12 per cent pay increase retroactive for any hours worked back to March 17, 2014.

This will make NSGEU LPNs who work at former CDHA sites the highest paid in Atlantic Canada.

NSGEU President Jason MacLean says that the award is significant and important.

“The union is very happy that this long process has finally concluded with a significant wage increase retroactive to 2014,” MacLean says.

The Job Evaluation review was filed in March 2014, but the union had to go to arbitration twice to finally get this award.

“The union and a very committed group of LPNs would not give up. In the end, this is a very important victory for Licensed Practical Nurses and begins to show respect for the expanded roles they play in our health care system.”

Six years and two arbitration decisions after it began, the process of evaluating the LPN classification concluded with two days of mediation/arbitration on Wednesday, June 10th and Thursday, June 11th of last week at NSGEU offices.

That process led to a consent award from Ms. Lafferty. A consent award means both parties agreed to Ms. Lafferty’s conclusions.

The award only applies to NSGEU LPNs who work in locations that fall under the jurisdiction of the former CDHA. That is because the original request for a review was filed under their collective agreement back in 2014. That collective agreement was the only one that allowed for the Joint Job Evaluation process.

The Award also ensures any NSGEU LPN who worked for the former CDHA – including anyone who has resigned, retired or took a position with another health authority or employer – will receive retro pay in the amount of 12 per cent back to March 17th, 2014.

If you are an LPN who worked for the former CDHA since March 17, 2014, but resigned, retired or went to work for a different health authority or employer, you must apply to Human Resources at NSHA in writing within 30 days from Monday, June 15th at noon to ensure you get the retro pay.

Given the potential substantial amount of retroactive pay you could be owed depending on hours worked, it may be a good idea to speak with a financial advisor.

The award will also be pensionable. This means those affected LPNs enrolled in CDHA pension plans since 2014 will see improvements in their pensions now or at the time of their retirement.

For many years, our Licensed Practical Nurses have dutifully shouldered more responsibilities and have had very little extra to show for these efforts. Effective today, that changes.

Back in 2014, the NSGEU formally initiated the reclassification process on behalf of all LPNs who worked in the former CDHA. With the help of a few of your peers who served as committee members, helping us gather the necessary information from frontline workers and speak to the ways in which the LPNs role has evolved and changed, Arbitrator Bruce Outhouse finally determined last Fall that the role of the LPN had been substantially altered.

During the two days of meetings last week, NSGEU staff, committee members and lawyers met with Arbitrator Lafferty to help determine the appropriate corresponding monetary increase.

This hearing was so important to the NSGEU that several senior union staff and three current LPNs all attended. The NSGEU also had three lawyers at the meetings and had a retired staff member with expertise in classification reviews attend the hearing by Skype from British Columbia.

“I want to thank all of the LPNs who participated in the reclassification efforts for their tireless efforts and advocacy on behalf of all of your colleagues, and for all of the LPNs who have waited so patiently for this day,” said President MacLean. “It was a long, difficult path, but we were able to achieve important respect for all members of your profession because we walked it together.”

Wage parity has been a consistent practice in health care in Nova Scotia for more than 25 years. The NSGEU will now advocate that the provincial government extend the 12 per cent wage increase immediately to LPNs across the province.

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