The Provincial Government passed two recent laws changing the way health care contracts are negotiated.
The Health Authorities Act (Bill 1) created four province-wide bargaining units (Administrative Professionals, Service Support, Nursing and Health Care). It requires all four unions who represent workers in each of the units (CUPE, Unifor, NSGEU and NSNU) to bargain together in Councils with one Union leading each set of negotiations.
The Essential Health and Community Services Act (Bill 37) now require these unions, working together in Councils, to negotiate the number of people who will deliver essential services in the event of a strike. No strike or lockout can occur until the essential services negotiations are complete.
Essential services negotiations between the Council of Unions, the IWK and the new Provincial Health Authority are now underway. Initial discussions were held on Monday, November 9 and Thursday, November 12.
These discussions were held on behalf of all four Council of Unions.
The Councils and the Employers are starting by working on the details of a framework agreement that would govern how essential services would be managed in the event of a strike. That is, we are negotiating what provisions of the collective agreement would apply, how staffing level disputes would be settled, determining essential work functions, and so on.
Once that document is complete, the Councils will begin work on reaching agreement with the Employers on the appropriate staffing levels for each bargaining unit in the event of a strike. If the parties cannot reach agreement on the framework documents or the staffing levels, the outstanding matters may be referred to the Labour Board for resolution.
As outlined above, the NSGEU will be bargaining collective agreements jointly within four Councils of Unions: Health Care, Nursing, Administrative Professionals (Clerical) and Support Services. Bargaining in each Council will be led by one union: the lead union representative will serve as Chief Negotiator and the second union representative will serve as Deputy Chief Negotiator, as follows:
- Nursing negotiations will be led by a Chief Negotiator from NSNU, with a Deputy Chief Negotiator from the NSGEU;
- Health Care negotiations will be led by a Chief Negotiator from NSGEU, with a Deputy Chief Negotiator from CUPE;
- Administrative Professionals negotiations will be led by a Chief Negotiator from CUPE, with a Deputy Chief Negotiator from the NSGEU;
- Support Services negotiations will be led by a Chief Negotiator from Unifor, with a Deputy Chief Negotiator from the NSGEU.
Another key element of the Councils is that the number of people from each union who form the bargaining committees will be based on the proportion of members that each union has in that bargaining unit.
So, for example, NSGEU will have the majority of bargaining committee members for Administrative Professional and Healthcare and will have the second most in Nursing. The NSGEU also has the most members at the Service Support table, but it does not have a majority. This will help ensure issues affecting NSGEU members will be addressed at every single table. All unions will continue to represent their members individually outside of collective bargaining.
NSGEU and its bargaining committees and are in the midst of preparing for negotiations. We will be distributing bargaining surveys to our membership soon, and will let you know when negotiating dates are set.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a member of your bargaining committee.
Administrative Professionals Bargaining Committee:
Michelle Dockrill, Local 104 firstname.lastname@example.org
Debra Hartnett, Local 1246 email@example.com
Heather Tucker, Local 1246 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tammy Young, Local 1246 email@example.com
Bill Zebedee, Local 1246 firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Care Bargaining Committee:
Patrick Daigle, Local 100 email@example.com
Monika Harvey, Local 193 firstname.lastname@example.org
Allan Lapierre, Local 100 email@example.com
Peter Perry, Local firstname.lastname@example.org
Nursing Bargaining Committee:
Denise Meade Jones, Local 101 email@example.com
Rochelle Ryan, Local 101 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kerri Webster-McIsaac, Local 101 email@example.com
Support Services Bargaining Committee:
Darryl Leroux, Local 124 firstname.lastname@example.org
Raymond Theriault, Local 119 email@example.com