Government and the four unions involved in health care have reached an agreement today, March 13.
“Health-care unions have worked with us to reach this important agreement, and I thank them for their willingness to come to the table,” said Premier Stephen McNeil.
Four councils of unions will be established to bargain on behalf of each bargaining unit — nursing, health care, support and administrative professionals.
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
This agreement will streamline the number of bargaining processes significantly, from 50 to four. Having one union leading negotiations for each of the four bargaining units ensures clarity for employers during the negotiation process.
Each of the existing unions will continue to represent their members. This agreement means there will be no runoff votes.
“We’ve asked the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre to create meaningful change in the way we deliver health care in this province. This agreement will allow them to focus on that important goal,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine.
Arbitrator James Dorsey’s previous decisions on the composition of the four bargaining units, seniority, and other underlying issues will stand. Existing collective bargaining agreements will remain in place until new ones are negotiated.
Because unions and government have reached an agreement on representation, Mr. Dorsey’s decisions on which union will represent health-care and support workers will not apply.
Government will introduce legislation sometime in the spring sitting to formalize this agreement.