Arbitrator’s Decision Provides Positive Path Forward for Unions, Workers

Monday, January 19th, 2015

MEDIA RELEASE: Arbitrator’s Decision Provides Positive Path Forward for Unions, Workers

NSGEU President Joan Jessome welcomed the decision of Arbitrator James Dorsey today, saying it was a direct rejection of the government’s cynical attempt to force thousands of healthcare workers from their chosen union and gave the unions an opportunity to work together to bargain collective agreements.

“Mr. Dorsey decision lays out a path forward that will allow NSGEU members to stay with NSGEU,” said Jessome. “All unions will have to work together with Mr. Dorsey to ensure this happens. NSGEU has always been prepared to do just that.”

Mr. Dorsey relied on current membership numbers as an expression of the wishes of healthcare workers rather than the Liberals’ scheme of forcing people out of their chosen unions. Mr. Dorsey ruled the NSGEU constitutional challenge did not need to be considered because he interpreted and applied the Act in a way that respected the associational rights of employees.

Mr. Dorsey has made this interpretation by concluding that he did not believe elected MLAs would want to override the democratic wishes of unionised healthcare workers.

“Such cavalier or cynical intentions to interfere so radically in the autonomy of employees to have independent trade union bargaining agents they select or establish to represent them cannot be attributed to members of the legislative assembly,” Mr. Dorsey wrote, before concluding that developing a single bargaining agent comprised of multiple unions was one option that would work.

“On behalf of the 12,500 healthcare workers we represent who are directly affected by Bill 1, the NSGEU looks forward to continuing to work out a solution to the very difficult situation the Liberal government has created,” added Jessome.


The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day.

For more information, please contact:

Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer

424.4063 (office)  471.1781 (cell)

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