We would like to respond to Stephen McNeil’s accusation on his Facebook page that President Jessome has made a baseless attack on the Liberal Party. This is not the case and a misrepresentation of the facts.
The basis for our email to members was the information from the Pictou Bee that the Liberals were polling the following:
The following is a list of possible policies and initiatives that a provincial government could undertake in Nova Scotia. Please tell us whether you would strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose each:
- Breaking Nova Scotia Power’s monopoly.
- Banning healthcare strikes.
- Accelerating development of Nova Scotia’s natural gas deposits for export.
Here is the text of the email we sent out to our membership:
Dear NSGEU members,
This morning we were made aware that the NS Liberal Party is polling on the question of banning strikes in Nova Scotia.
Click here to view the information we received from the Pictou Bee:
Please note: that this is a phone survey and you may or may not receive a call from their polling company.
Without the right to strike, instead of collectively bargaining, we will only be able to collectively beg.
The right to strike is fundamental to being able to achieve collective agreements our members accept. Even if you do not have the right to strike, you benefit from the collective agreements your sisters and brothers in the labour movement achieve with the right to strike.
The right to strike is a fundamental right found in democratic societies and is an important right to defend and protect.
As we gear up to another provincial election, please question your political representatives about their position on this important labour right and speak out to protect it.
No matter what you think of the Pictou Bee, we were reacting to the information that the Liberal Party was polling on the right to strike. We sent a tweet out to McNeil asking him to confirm or deny this fact this morning at 9:30 a.m. and have still not had an answer.
Stephen McNeil’s response stated: “This is an attack by Joan Jessome against me and our party….”
We did not attack the Liberal party, but expressed a real concern about their possible intentions regarding “banning healthcare strikes” and asked our members to stand up to protect and defend our labour rights with every political representative.
We wish that instead of an attack on our President Joan Jessome, the Liberal Party would have just clarified their position with us (as they have now done) in a respectful way and answered our question about the poll (which they have yet to do).
We understand now that the Liberal Party and the Liberal Caucus are in favour of the right to strike and in favour of full collective bargaining rights. We are pleased to hear this. However, we remain perplexed about why they would poll on banning healthcare strikes while holding such a strong position.