Nurses Protest Essential Service Legislation

Press Release

April 1, 2014

Halifax – Nurses at Capital Health are off the job to protest legislation introduced by the McNeil Liberal government—legislation that is the worst in the country and takes away rights for thousands of workers who care for Nova Scotians.

“This bill is by far the most regressive of its kind in the country,” says Joan Jessome, NSGEU President. “It forces 85-90% of nurses to stay on the job during a strike, giving employers the power to claw back benefits, and offers a form of arbitration that’s heavily tilted towards the province and the employer. Make no mistake, this bill takes away the rights of 32,000 workers in Nova Scotia.”

The bill also includes a form of arbitration based on “the Province’s ability to pay.”

“Essential services legislation creates conflict and chaos,” says Jessome. “Mr. McNeil had the power to get a deal and avert job action. Instead, he has chosen to sweep away the rights of nearly all health and community services workers in one far-reaching piece of legislation—legislation that, in other provinces, is already subject to constitutional challenge.”

Nurses are keeping their commitment to fully staff the ER, ICU, Cancer Care, Veterans and Hemodialisys units and to maintain a basic level of staffing in other units during this job action.

“Stephen McNeil and Capital Health may have chosen to play political games with patient safety by refusing to negotiate an emergency services agreement, but nurses will live up to their promise,” says 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 or to arrange an interview with NSGEU President, Joan Jessome, please contact:
Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer
424.4063 (office)
471.1781 (cell)

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