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Unifor condemns NS Liberal government's Bill 1, looks to mediation to ensure stability in NS health care

HALIFAX, Oct. 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Unifor stands firm in its condemnation of the anti-worker Bill 1, which passed in the NS Legislature Friday afternoon.

"The law is an outrageous violation of workers' rights and freedoms," said Unifor Atlantic Regional Director Lana Payne. "Unifor is firmly committed to working through the mediation process to establish a council of health care unions. The bargaining association will allow proud Unifor members to remain proud Unifor members and it will best protect the benefits and conditions for which we have fought long and hard."

The Nova Scotia health care system is about to go through radical changes as a result of the government's restructuring.

"Our members need us to push forward and continue to represent their best interests, their rights and their hard-fought gains and that is exactly what we will do," Payne continued. "It's been a difficult week for the labour movement and for health care workers in the province. Some simple clarifications earlier in the week from the health minister would have gone a long way. Now we have to use the mediation process as a way to salvage any stability we can for the workers and patients across this province."

Unifor has remained firm in its commitment to working with the other three health care unions during mediation to ensure that run-off votes or the carving out of members is avoided. The bargaining association model remains the best option, the only tenable option that won't result in worker being pitted against worker and union against union, Payne said.

"Unifor members protested for five days this week with heart and with pride. They stood up not just for their own rights, but the rights of every worker in the province of Nova Scotia. Our union is stronger because of them," said Payne.

Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. With more than 305,000 members, including more than 4,000 health care workers in Nova Scotia, Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector.