MEDIA RELEASE: Unions call out Premier for mistreatment of Health Admin

Unions representing thousands of health care administrative professionals who are readying to strike have launched province-wide radio advertisements today, calling out the Premier for his lack of respect for these workers.

Some members of this bargaining unit earn as little as $18 per hour – well below the living wage estimates that were recently released.

“Our members don’t understand how government can boast about $2 billion in unexpected revenues while allowing them to remain among the lowest paid health care workers in Atlantic Canada,” said Bev Strachan, President of CUPE Local 8920.

Their contract expired almost three years ago, and the employers and government have offered these workers a deal that amounts to a wage decrease, while other groups of health care workers have been offered much more.

“Premier Houston doesn’t think our nurses should be lowest paid in Atlantic Canada – why does he think our admin should be?” asked Sandra Mullen, President of NSGEU.

While members gave their unions a strong strike mandate back in June, the unions have been unable to conclude an essential services agreement, which is required by the Essential Health and Community Service Act, as employer representatives from Nova Scotia Health and IWK continue to drag their feet on bargaining and hide behind anti-union legislation.

“The Act is clearly being used as a shield to prevent job action,” said Susan Gill, Unifor National Representative. “Meanwhile, we have thousands of members – 85 per cent of whom are women – struggling to get by on the low wages being offered by this government.”

There are more than 5,000 administrative professionals working in hospitals and community care settings throughout Nova Scotia, performing critical tasks. They are the first point of contact with patients; manage registrations; control the switchboard and communications; ensure test labels are accurate; assign beds; share lab results with clinical staff; book appointments, transfers and admissions; order and receive supplies; manage payroll; and much more. Without these professionals and their labour, health care doesn’t work, and it’s time the employer and government returned to the table to offer a deal that acknowledges that.

Once an essential services plan is in place and the required two-week notice period has elapsed, thousands of health care workers across the province will be in a legal strike position.

These workers are represented by CUPE, NSGEU, and Unifor, who bargain together in the Council of Unions.


For more information, contact:  

Karen MacKenzie, CUPE National Representative, Lead Negotiator, 902-890-0840  

Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer, 902-471-1781  

Shelley Amyotte, Unifor National Communications Representative, 902-717-7491 

Taylor Johnston, CUPE Atlantic Communications Representative, 

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