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Workers’ Rights Under Attack

Good afternoon,

As you may have heard reported in the news yesterday, the mediation process outlined under Bill 1 has failed. Watch NSGEU President Joan Jessome talk with members of the media about the process so far.

The NSGEU, Unifor and CUPE were able to work together effectively and were united in their efforts to achieve a form of bargaining association, maintaining the position that all unions should continue to represent their respective members. But the mediation process ended when the NSNU made it clear that they were no longer supportive of the bargaining association model. Instead, they suggested the issue of who would represent nurses be referred to arbitration, which would mean Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses from all three other unions would be assigned to the NSNU, because that is the way the legislation is written.

If you’re not a member who works in health care, you may be wondering why this matters to you.

The McNeil government is legislating away the rights of 24,000 health care workers. Since coming into power in October 2013, they have introduced three pieces of extremely harmful anti-labour legislation: Bill 30, Bill 37 and now, Bill 1. This most recent piece of legislation infringes on the constitutional rights of workers, imposing not only union representation, but a collective agreement on these workers. The Liberals’ attack on health care workers will only make health care shortages worse: people will retire or leave the province rather than work for an employer that refuses to respect their rights. This is bad for all Nova Scotians who rely on our public health care system.

And once the Liberals are done attacking health care workers, they’ve made it abundantly clear that they are coming after the civil service, next. They’ve openly talked about wage restraint and expressed their frustration about the strong job security language you currently have that will prevent them from cutting jobs.

The time for action is now.

If you haven’t already done so, contact your local MLA, the Minister of Health and Premier and let them know that you don’t like how they are treating workers. You could even write a letter to your local paper. As well, over the next few weeks we will be holding rallies in many communities. Please make an effort to attend, so you can show your solidarity to your fellow union members, and send government a clear message that workers will not be pushed around.

Thank you for your support during this difficult time.

In Solidarity,

Joan Jessome

President, NSGEU

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