Redeployment & The Good Neighbour Protocol
The NSGEU and all major health care unions in Nova Scotia signed on to a protocol with the provincial government more than a decade ago to protect health care workers’ rights in circumstances just like the one we find ourselves in now. Back in 2009, on the heels of the H1N1 influenza pandemic, the NSGEU signed onto the Good Neighbour Protocol, an agreement designed to protect health services and health care workers during emergencies such as a pandemic or natural disaster, should they be asked volunteer to temporarily work at a different employer or location.
In the event that a member volunteers to be redeployed, the Good Neighbour Protocol protects workers’ rights and ensures for seamless support across the province in times of crisis. It ensures workers will be properly compensated and protected, and it will apply to both workers and volunteers.
Again, the protections contained in the Good Neighbour Protocol agreement ensure that any redeployments can only occur on a voluntary basis and can only occur during this declared state of emergency.
It is important to note that your collective agreement also contains a reassignment process that your employer can use in the event of staff shortages in one area and a surplus of staff in another area, where members essentially perform the same functions.
The employer has very specific restrictions under which it must operate in order to temporarily re-assign staff. Your collective agreement contains a process that the employer can use in the event of staff shortages in one area and a surplus of staff in another area.
In the administrative professional, support services and health care bargaining units, employees can only be re-assigned to areas perform the same functions and are in the same classification or classification title series. The employer must ask for expressions of interest. Where no qualified members express interest, the most junior qualified member will be reassigned.
Those in the nursing bargaining unit can only be re-assigned if the employer deems they are capable of performing the required duties, and the employer must re-assign equitably if there are no volunteers.
NSHA has made clear to all unions that it will breech the re-assignment articles and redeploy staff in ways that are contrary to the collective agreement in order to meet operational needs as a result of the pandemic. The union asks that you contact us if you believe this has been asked of you and we will investigate whether a grievance should be filed in your case.
If you have any questions, or if your employer tries to force you to redeploy outside of the assignment articles in your collective agreement, please contact the NSGEU Labour Resource Centre at 902-424-4063 (toll-free 1-877-556-7438) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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