Bargaining between the Nova Scotia Council of Health Care Unions and the NSHA and IWK has stalled because the Employers have taken the unprecedented step of simply refusing to tell the Unions what they are proposing for several key aspects of the new collective agreements.
The Council of Unions bargaining committee is made up of six members from NSGEU, three from CUPE and one from Unifor. That Council has asked repeatedly for the NSHA and IWK to table their full proposals. On Wednesday, November 16, the Employers again refused.
At issue are three key issues: sick leave, health and life benefits plans and pay plan maintenance (the process that evaluates whether people are properly paid for the work they do).
There are two sick leave plans currently in use across the NSHA and IWK. The Council of Unions has proposed using the current Local 42 Short Term Illness plan for all NSHA and IWK employees. Among other things, this plan ensures people who have recurring illnesses or injuries in a short period of time have better sick leave provisions. And it allows people to collect 100 per cent paid sick leave in roughly half the time as the other plan.
The Employers are refusing to say what they will propose despite the fact bargaining has started and the two sides have exchanged proposals.
There are also two different group health and life plans in operation at the NSHA and IWK. The Council of Unions has proposed keeping the status quo and leaving people in their existing plans. The Employers have said they just want one plan but are again refusing to say what that plan would be. These benefits plans cover everything from dental care and drug plans to retiree benefits.
With respect to the Joint job Evaluation process, the Council has proposed the current Local 42 method, but with changes that will address delays that have stalled important re-evaluations. The Employers have not tabled a proposal or a response.
On November 21 the Council informed the Employers that their refusal to table key proposals leaves the Council at a major disadvantage where it is being asked to bargain in the dark and leave critical cornerstone elements of our agreement to be negotiated after issues of key importance to the employer are dealt with. This is not collective bargaining. The Council is keen to move ahead with bargaining once the Employer tables all its proposals but will not bargain under circumstances that provide a strategic advantage to the Employers.
For further information on the bargaining process to date, as well as background on the formation of the Health Care Bargaining Council, please visit the NSGEU website.
If you have questions or concerns about the bargaining process, please contact a member of your bargaining committee: