Bargainig Update


The Council of Unions Health Care Bargaining Committee have spent the past several weeks preparing for a mediation arbitration hearing set for the last week of July with mediator arbitrator William Kaplan, which will finalize a Healthcare Collective agreement for our membership working in the Acute Care sector with Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and IWK. 

The Committee has worked closely over the last eight weeks with lawyers at Pink Larkin to continue to narrow issues and prepare for mediation/arbitration. It has involved conducting more bargaining sessions with the employers (both NSHA and IWK Hospital) in order to limit the amount of decisions that will be made by the Arbitrator.

Those bargaining discussions have led to the successful resolution of several issues. This progress is a direct result of the pressure applied to the employers by the 93 per cent strike vote mandate, the conclusion of the IWK essential services plan and the acceptance of the mediation/arbitration resolution process by the membership. Without those achievements the Employers and Government would not have been motivated to make the recent significant progress the Council of Unions has achieved. However, even with this progress other key issues remain unresolved and are now likely going to be settled at the mediation arbitration.

Mr. Kaplan has provided dates for mediation/arbitration for all four bargaining units. The Health Care Bargaining Unit mediation/arbitration will run from July 30 to August 3. Mr. Kaplan has indicated he expects to issue a decision concluding the collective agreement shortly after August 3.

The Union and the Employers have agreed that Support Services, in which Unifor is lead negotiator, will enter into the mediation/arbitration process second.  The parties will exchange proposals on August 13 with bargaining scheduled for August 27-30.  Mr. Kaplan has set aside September 18 for the Support Services mediation arbitration. This will give the parties time to negotiate. Kaplan anticipates only one day will be required for the mediation/arbitration because many of the outstanding issues and language will be resolved during the Healthcare mediation.

The parties have concluded that the Administrative Professional Bargaining Unit mediation/arbitration will be third. Bargaining will take place on August 21, 22, and 31 with mediation/arbitration to take place on September 19. Again, the mediation/arbitration will only require a day because most outstanding issues will be resolved at the Health Care table.

The parties have agreed to send the Nursing Bargaining unit to the table last. There are a number of unique nursing related issues that will hopefully be resolved during bargaining. Those issues that are not resolved will be decided by Mr. Kaplan during the November 19-23  Nursing Bargaining Unit mediation/arbitration. The Employer and the Council of Unions mutually agreed to these dates.

The mediation/arbitration agreement, which can be found on Unifor’s website, was ratified with 92 per cent of all four bargaining units, in all four unions. It provides wage increases, retroactive pay back to 2014, protection of your current sick leave and retiree benefits, and the option for early pay out of your retirement allowance.

The Employers recently provided details to all employees on when retroactive wage increases will be paid as well as details on how they intend to facilitate the pay out of the retirement allowance for those who choose that option.

If you have any questions regarding the bargaining process please contact Susan Gill National Representative at @email.