As you know, essential services negotiations for Local 97 ran throughout the summer. After almost 20 meetings, the parties reached agreement on staffing in the event of a strike for a long list of work areas. We also reached agreement on a number of processes that must be put in place in the event of a strike.
Despite all this, Capital Health and the Union were not able to come to a full agreement. Among other things, we were not able to agree on staffing levels for approximately 30 work areas out of more than 200. And we were not able to reach an agreement on:
- Whether the employer would cost-share benefits for those required to deliver essential services in the event of a strike;
- A staffing level dispute settlement mechanism in the event the employer claims it needs more staff than agreed to;
- Whether the Union is required to give the employer 72-hours notice in advance of rotating strikes, and;
- What terms and conditions of the collective agreement will apply to those who provide essential services during a strike.
Today, President Jessome gave approval for the Union to refer all the outstanding differences to the Labour Board for final resolution. Under Bill 37, the Labour Board will now have up to thirty days to render a decision on the outstanding issues. That decision will complete the essential services agreement required by Bill 37 before a strike could resume. The Union will be able to then give two weeks’ notice that it intends to resume its strike if it so chooses. Read the letter sent by the Union to the Labour Board here.
In the meantime, collective bargaining is expected to resume on September 29 and October 2, with the assistance of a conciliator.
We understand you have all been waiting patiently for a resolution to your contract negotiations. The Union is working diligently on your behalf, and is following all of the steps required of us under the government’s new legislation. We appreciate your ongoing patience and support. Expect to hear from us in the coming weeks, as we move forward with negotiations and await the final response from the Labour Board on your essential services agreement.
If you have questions or concerns about this process, or what comes next, please contact us by calling 902-424-4063 (toll-free 1-877-556-7438) or emailing email@example.com.