Hospital Workers in Nova Scotia have voted 92 per cent to ratify an agreement for mediation and binding arbitration.
“Thanks to the support, solidarity, and patience of members, we can now see a light at the end of an extremely difficult round of negotiations, made more challenging by the numerous pieces of government legislation,” said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director.
The new agreement provides wage increases over a six-years,; it protects sick leave provisions, along with health and retiree benefits for all four bargaining units, which includes Health Care, Nursing, Support Services, and Administrative Professionals.
“This agreement gives us a path forward. It means that after three very long years, we will have collective agreements in place for all unionized acute care workers in Nova Scotia by the end of 2018,” Linda McNeil, Atlantic Area Director, who represents Unifor on the executive of the Nova Scotia Council of Health Care Unions.
The council was formed by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union (NSNU) and the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) in 2015 after several pieces of Liberal anti-worker legislation were passed.
Unifor represents more than 2,300 workers in all four bargaining units in acute care.
Each group will continue to negotiate with the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Children’s Hospital. Any issues that cannot be resolved at the negotiating table will be decided by an independent third-party mediator-arbitrator.
The four unions are now looking forward to working with mediator William Kaplan, who will try to assist the parties to achieve an agreement through mediation but will render a final and binding award on any issues that are unresolved.