Dorsey Decision Q&A

Q. Please clarify: which members will be staying with NSGEU?

As it stands right now, government is saying NSGEU will represent only workers who fall under the Health Care grouping.

However, in arbitrator James Dorsey’s decision issued on Friday, February 20th, it is very clear that NSGEU will continue to represent both Health Care and Clerical members. Mr. Dorsey’s decision did not assign Nursing or Support Services to any union. Rather, it called for submissions from all four unions. We believe this was done to force unions which had previously been unwilling to cooperate in an amalgamated bargaining union to finally do what was best for the health care workers.

Q. I received an email labour relations update from my employer on Friday. It says that “no decision was made for Clerical workers.” Didn’t Mr. Dorsey say the NSGEU would continue to represent Clerical workers?

If you look at page 37 of Mr. Dorsey’s decision, you will see he actually DID decide on the issue of Clerical workers:

“If the process of local union merger and membership transfer is completed, the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, Local 23 will have as members a majority of the employees in each Clerical unit employed by the provincial health authority and IWK Health Centre. **NOTE: This process will be completed shortly! If the process is completed, I will determine and order the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, Local 23 is the successor bargaining agent at April 1, 2015 representing the employees in the Clerical bargaining unit of each of the two health authority employers. I will make the determination and order at the request of Local 23 with documentation supporting its status as a union and its membership.”

We are moving forward with the local union merger and membership transfer, as prescribed by Mr. Dorsey.

Q. Did the Minister of Health really say he was firing Mr. Dorsey?

The Minister of Health has stated he has fired Mr. Dorsey. We believe according to Bill 1, Mr. Dorsey retains legal jurisdiction on this issue. This may change depending on what new legislation is introduced by the government in the coming weeks.

Q. The government has stated they intend to introduce new legislation to assign workers to unions of government’s choice.  What can we do to stop this?

If & when the government calls back the House to introduce their new legislation, we will be calling on each and every one of you – the workers who are being stripped of your constitutional rights and freedoms – to take action!

Right now, we need you to be speaking to everyone about what is happening to you: coworkers, friends, family members, neighbours… Write a letter to the editor, to tell them how you feel about this fiasco. Also, it’s important that you write to and call your MLA to tell them how this is affecting you: keep the pressure on!

Q. Is NSGEU going to take legal action against the government?

If the government introduces legislation that assigns workers to unions, it is our intention to explore every legal avenue available to us.

Q. What will happen with our contracts in the mean time?

Your current contract will remain in effect until a new contract is negotiated for your new consolidated unit. So, for example, if you are currently a member of Local 246, your contract will be “stapled together” with all other clerical/administrative professional local contracts until the new consolidated Clerical unit negotiates a new contract with your employer (which likely won’t happen until next year, at the earliest).

Q. I used to be a member of the Health Care unit, but in Mr. Dorsey’s decision, it looks like I have been moved. What can I do about this?

During arbitration hearings, the NSGEU presented a solid case for keeping all current health care members in the Health Care unit. Unfortunately, in many instances, Mr. Dorsey made the decision to move many of our members into nursing, administrative and support services. In total Mr. Dorsey moved approximately 1,200 NSGEU members out of the Health Care unit, due to the restrictions of Bill 1 and the position of the employers. NSGEU is disappointed that any classifications were moved.

If you work in one of these positions and you believe you’ve been moved in error, or you’re simply not sure which unit you fall in as of April 1, please contact us by calling 902-424-4063 (toll-free 1-877-556-7438) or emailing


Click here to download a copy of the Q&A to post at your workplace.


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