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VON Locals 31, 35, 40 & 85 – Union Applies for Conciliation

Your bargaining committee met with the VON for two days of bargaining on October 23rd and 24th. Originally, five days of bargaining were scheduled, but additional time was unnecessary because the parties could not reach agreement on any issues. Although talks were generally cordial, the bargaining process was unproductive, largely because the employer did not have an offer to make on wages, hours of work, or improvements to travel, overtime, amount of vacation, and other key provisions of the collective agreement.

The bargaining committee has decided to apply to the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education to request the assistance of a Conciliation Officer. According to the Trade Union Act, either a union or an employer can apply for conciliation when bargaining reaches an impasse. Although a Conciliation Officer cannot compel the union and the employer to reach a collective agreement, the process is a good mechanism for the parties to bargain more effectively. If conciliation is successful, a tentative agreement will be presented to the union members. If conciliation fails, the Conciliation Officer files a report with the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, which triggers a fourteen-day countdown or cooling off period, after which a union may go on strike or an employer may lock the members out.

At this point, your bargaining committee remains optimistic that a new collective agreement may be achieved at conciliation. We will keep you updated with further developments. If you have any questions, please contact a member of your bargaining committee as follows:

Bargaining Committee

Tammy Frail, Local 31  tntfrail@ns.sympatico.ca 

Heather Matthews, Local 35  heatherdavid@ns.sympatico.ca 

Elayne Weddleton-Bradley, Local 40  e.weddleton@ns.sympatico.ca

Nicole Quinn, Local 85  toreachthequinns@hotmail.ca  

Robin MacLean, Chief Negotiator  rmaclean@nsgeu.ca

Corry MacKinnon, ERO  cmackinnon@nsgeu.ca

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