Nova Scotia

James Dorsey, fired last week, hands clerical workers to NSGEU

Nova Scotia’s health minister said he fired arbitrator James Dorsey last week, but on Wednesday Dorsey released a surprise order over the health care unions.

Leo Glavine, health minister, says Dorsey has 'no authority' to make ruling

James Dorsey was inaccessible in B.C. mountains today. (CBC)

Nova Scotia’s health minister dismissed fired arbitrator James Dorsey's surprise release of an order over the health care unions on Wednesday. 

Dorsey’s order gives the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union control over thousands more workers in the health care sector. Dorsey’s dismissal won’t become official until Thursday’s cabinet meeting.

The order would align 4,000 union members with the NSGEU.

"There's no way that Mr. Dorsey would have issued an order today if he felt he didn't have the power to do so," said NSGEU president Joan Jessome.

On Friday, Dorsey said NSGEU could represent 6,500 health care workers. He then said they could also represent 4,000 clerical workers if they formed a new independent local.

The government said he had failed to deliver a decision in three of the four bargaining units and so dismissed Dorsey.

NSGEU threatens legal action

The NSGEU rushed through the changes at an emergency meeting Tuesday night.

"We were not going to put at risk a bargaining unit we believe Dorsey awarded once we got the paperwork into him," Jessome said.

The government rejected the order.

"He has no authority at this stage to be presenting further alternatives," said Health Minister Leo Glavine.

Glavine added that an official dismissal letter went out Wednesday.

Jessome argued the decision should still stand. "Whatever action they take following today, to either take clerical or health care away from the NSGEU — when we’ve been awarded by an arbitrator they put in place — will require some further court action by this union."

Dorsey, meanwhile, said only that he was travelling in B.C. mountains Wednesday and had sporadic access to email.