Nova Scotia

Liberals say no thanks to proposal from Nova Scotia health unions

Nova Scotia’s Liberal government is setting the stage for a stormy return to the legislature this fall after apparently rejecting a new bargaining model proposed by the provinces four public sector health care unions.

The Liberals want to reduce health care bargaining units from 215 to four

The Liberals want to reduce health care bargaining units from 215 to 4, grouped into a nursing, administrative, technologist and service support. (CBC)

Nova Scotia’s Liberal government is setting the stage for a stormy return to the legislature this fall after apparently rejecting a new bargaining model proposed by the province's four public sector health care unions.

The unions wanted to form a bargaining association in an effort to avoid a winner-take- all run off election between members as Nova Scotia consolidates its nine health authorities into one provincial authority in 2015.

"Your efforts have demonstrated a desire to work co-operatively," Health Minister Leo Glavine wrote the unions on September 18. The letter was released by the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union.

"However, we believe that it has not adequately addressed valid and significant concerns articulated by the employer representatives, nor has it resolved all of the issues of interest for this government," Glavine wrote.

The Liberals want to reduce health care bargaining units from 215 to four, grouped into a nursing, administrative, technologist and service support.

We believe that it has not adequately addressed valid and significant concerns articulated by the employer.- letter from Health Minister Leo Glavine

The Government suggested bargaining opposite a negotiating committee of unions was cumbersome. The Union plan would see a single collective agreement. But according to the Government, it would maintain different terms for different members, defeating the effort to streamline the system.

On Monday, Health Department spokesperson Tony Kiritsis reiterated the government's position the union proposal was inadequate.

"That’s why this fall legislation will be introduced to deal with the labour structure. This legislation will include mediation with a neutral third party, so employers and government can continue to work with unions to address these challenges," Kiritsis said via e-mail.

The restructuring will affect thousands of people belonging to the Nova Scotia Nurses Union, Nova Scotia Government Employees Union, Unifor and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

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