Premier Stephen McNeil announced today that he intends to cheat NSGEU nurses (both Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses), and circumvent the legislation his own government wrote.
The Premier told members of the media today that he plans to treat the IWK and new Provincial Health Authority (PHA) as a single employer for bargaining with the nurses, and is directing the appointed arbitrator, James Dorsey, to select the NSNU as their bargaining agent.
He also suggested further regulations will be passed to give the NSNU the majority representation it needs to bargain for all nurses in the province.
Premier McNeil has been dishonest and incompetent in his dealings with the unions and nurses. When an appointed arbitrator concludes that a majority of nurses in both the IWK and the Provincial Health Authority is required in order for a union to represent these workers, he simply changes the rules to suit his personal wishes. It is unconscionable that a democratically elected leader would show such callous disregard for the legal process that is currently underway.
The Premier should be denounced for yet again trying to dictate to the health care workers of this province, and cheating nurses in Nova Scotia.
The NSGEU believes that nurses in the new PHA should decide who will represent them. Mr. Dorsey’s decision requiring majority support for a union in each of the four bargaining units respects the principle of workers’ choice.
Mr. Dorsey wrote: “In a democracy, legislative assemblies do not simply shuffle constituency boundaries or reallocate votes among constituencies to meet some desired goal and defeat the majoritarian principle. What cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly by fashioning limitations and eligibility rules to dictate an outcome that supersedes the wishes of a majority of employees.”
Even the Minister of Labour & Advanced Education, Kelly Regan, agreed that workers should have a choice when she told the House of Assembly on May 1, 2014: “The government will respect the desires of the health care union members in which union they want to belong.”
Arbitrator Dorsey has been appointed by Liberal legislation and retains the jurisdiction to resolve all outstanding matters. The Premier’s comments will be an issue for discussion during our scheduled meetings from February 2nd to 6th.