Nova Scotia Health Care Workers to take strike vote

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Katha Fortier and Linda MacNeil with Unifor members representing Nova Scotia health care workers.

HALIFAX - After little progress with a conciliator, the Nova Scotia Council of Health Care Unions is proceeding with a province wide strike vote for health care workers.

The joint union bargaining committee, made up of members from four different unions including Unifor, NSGEU, CUPE, and NSNU, is frustrated with the slow pace of talks for acute care workers, after seven more days at the table with a conciliator. Talks initially began in October of 2016.

The coalition of unions believe it is time to send a clear message to the employers which include the Nova Scotia Health Authority, the IWK Children’s hospital and the Nova Scotia government.

After a year of negotiations, the employers have refused to seriously consider any of the union proposals.

Nova Scotia’s first ever province-wide Health Care Bargaining Unit strike vote will be held for all 6,500 health care workers from Yarmouth to Halifax to Colchester to Cape Breton.

Members of Unifor, NSGEU, CUPE, and NSNU stand united and have agreed to take action in solidarity for all workers seeking fair collective agreements for the four unions, without a collective agreement or wage increase for four years.

Each of the four Unions will conduct individual votes with details on locations and dates to be announced soon.

Overall the unions share concerns that employers’ continue to propose significant claw backs of benefits for some members. Unifor is especially concerned about an employer proposal that would allow the NSHA to reassign employees anywhere in the province whether the employee wanted to go or not. 

The Council of Health Care Unions have set further conciliation dates with the employers for April 10 – 12 and May 2 – 4, 2018.

The McNeil Liberal legislation prohibits health care workers from striking until an essential services agreement is reached and this has not yet been negotiated. The Council of Unions presented the employers with a complete essential services plan earlier this month. The employer driven delay in reaching an essential service agreement has limited the unions leverage at the bargaining table. This is all the more reason why a strike mandate is required by all workers.

Together with a united voice health care workers can move towards reaching a fair new collective agreement.

For more information, please contact Unifor Atlantic Communications representative Natalie Clancy: @email or (902) 478-9283 (cell)