Unifor members across the Atlantic region are reaching out to support the health care members in Nova Scotia with signs and donations, while supporting a call for wage parity among Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).
“The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but through all these struggles, it’s been great to see the generosity and genuine concern of members looking out for other members,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “It’s also been a time of strong collaboration between health care unions in Nova Scotia as we fought together for PPE and are now pushing for LPN wage parity.”
In a long-awaited arbitration decision that was filed in 2014, prior to the amalgamation of the health authorities, members of NSGEU in the former Capital District Health Authority (CHDA) challenged that LPN scope of work had increased dramatically without a commensurate pay increase. On June 15, 2020, Arbitrator Lorraine Lafferty issued a Consent Award granting an increase of 12% to the pay rates for LPNs represented by the NSGEU at the former CDHA. The increase is retroactive to March 17, 2014.
“It’s a great win for the eligible LPNs as we have all long known their jobs have changed dramatically in the last decade,” said Linda MacNeil, Atlantic Regional Director. “We are committed to seeing wage parity for all LPNs, no matter which region of the province they work in. We have requested a meeting with the health authority and we’ll be making a very strong case to see this pay adjustment applied to all LPNs.”
Members of the Atlantic Regional Council Executive donated hand sanitizer supplies intended for the annual Council meeting, which would have taken place in late April, to workers at Northwood in Halifax. Northwood has been a hotspot for COVID-19 in the region, with 345 cases reported among residents and staff.
“Despite not being able to gather for Atlantic Council this year in Halifax, we’ve seen tremendous solidarity through this pandemic with all frontline workers, particularly our health care members in Nova Scotia,” said MacNeil. “I am thankful for the generosity of members from across the Atlantic in sending their support to Northwood in particular.”
Beginning in early June, billboards went up in the Halifax and Sydney areas to thank health care workers. This week, members at Northwood received sweatshirts funded jointly by the Unifor Atlantic Council, CUPE, NSGEU and NSNU.