Government has introduced amendments to the Health Authorities Act allowing four councils of unions to negotiate on behalf of health-care workers within the new Nova Scotia Health Authority and at the IWK.
The changes introduced today, March 26, are necessary to create a framework that allows councils of unions to represent employees in bargaining.
“This is a solution that works for health care. These amendments will enable a historic agreement between health-care unions and government to take effect,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine.
The amendments allow four councils of unions to bargain on behalf of each bargaining unit — nursing, health care, support and administrative professionals.
Each of the four unions will lead one bargaining process, ensuring clarity and more efficient collective bargaining for all parties during negotiations.
Votes to strike, or to ratify a collective agreement, will be provincewide across each bargaining unit. Employees from both the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK will vote with their bargaining unit.
“Having a lead union for each bargaining unit means that before negotiations begin, the lead union will have set goals that all unions have agreed to. This creates a more efficient approach to bargaining and reduces confusion for the Nova Scotia Health Authority, the IWK, and for employees,” said Mr. Glavine.
“It will also ensure a clear process for negotiating essential services agreements. That means Nova Scotians will get the vital health-care services they need, even if talks at the bargaining table break down.”
All unionized health-care workers will remain members of their existing unions, and pay dues to those unions as they do now.
Each of the four unions will lead one bargaining process, as follows:
— Nursing (registered nurses and licensed practical nurses): Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union
— Health care: Nova Scotia Government and General Employees’ Union
— Support: Unifor
— Administrative professionals (formerly clerical): CUPE
Union members still need to ratify this agreement. After that, councils of unions can file their constitutions with the Labour Board. Once that happens, collective bargaining can begin.