The membership of the four health care unions in Nova Scotia voted overwhelmingly in favour of supporting the Bargaining Councils model agreed upon by the unions and the government. Of those members who voted: Unifor members voted 94 per cent in favour; NSGEU members voted 98 per cent in favour; CUPE members voted 93 per cent in favour of the bargaining council; and NSNU members voted 95 per cent in favour.
Atlantic Regional Director Lana Payne was very pleased with the new agreement and highlighted the Unifor team’s leading role in the events of the last several months.
“We took a principled stand and we stuck to it,” said Payne. “Our goal was to ensure the interests of our members were protected so they could continue to deliver the best possible health care to Nova Scotians. I believe we did that.”
The four new collective agreements will affect all workers across the province in each of the four work units and will be bargained by a council of unions. Each unit will have a Chief Negotiator assigned based on majority of membership share and on the basis that one union may lead the bargaining for only one unit. Unifor will be the Chief Negotiator in the Support unit.
All health care members will remain under their current collective agreements until new agreements are negotiated, which may take some time. Bill 37, which was also passed last year, dictates that Essential Services language must be included in the new agreements. As such, the unions plan to conduct thorough consultations with each work place and each department in order to recommend appropriate minimum staffing levels.
For more information and details on the councils, read “What Bill 1 means for you” in the Tools & Resources section of the website under the Member Services tab.