A Letter From President Joan Jessome: We Aren’t Done With Bill 1!

Dear NSGEU member,

This afternoon, the Liberal government succeeded in pushing Bill 1 (the Health Authorities Act) through our House of Assembly. They did this despite the adamant opposition they received from members of the NDP, the many heartfelt stories expressed by health care workers during Law Amendments, and the thousands of emails they received from concerned citizens over the past few days.

They did this because they do not respect workers’ rights.

As one column in The Chronicle Herald very rightly explained: “…joining a union is the most fundamental example of the freedom of association that we enjoy in our democracy. Unions are democratic, and a duly elected democratic government, of all employers, should acknowledge that in its dealings and legislation concerning them.”

Bill 1 is an infringement on the rights of 24,000 health care workers. It deprives them of the right to form and join a trade union of their choosing, and to have that union bargain collectively on their behalf. It’s one of the worst pieces of labour legislation we’ve ever seen in Canada, and is a direct attack on the NSGEU.

If you are not a health care worker, you should still be very worried about this government’s dishonest tactics, and the effect this legislation will have on your union and Nova Scotia’s labour movement as a whole. This government has made it clear that they are coming after civil service workers, next: they’re already talking about wage restraint, layoffs, and longer contracts.

I want you to know that we are not done with Bill 1.

The NSGEU plans to fight this legislation in every way possible: through the courts, and in the court of public opinion. We’ll need your help to keep the pressure on this Liberal government as the weeks go by: we cannot let them think this egregious assault on workers’ rights will be forgotten.

We are holding a telephone town hall meeting for the health care workers who are directly affected by Bill 1 tonight (Friday, October 3) at 7:30 p.m., so we can discuss next steps. We will be communicating more details via email over the coming days, so please keep an eye on your inbox, and share any information you may receive with your coworkers.

In the face of great adversity, we must unite and persevere!

In Solidarity,


Joan Jessome

President, NSGEU

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