Nova Scotia·In Depth

Nova Scotia health authorities merger explained

What you need to know about the public sector unions that have vowed to fight a bill in Nova Scotia that would change the collective bargaining process for health-care workers.

Public sector unions have vowed to fight the merger bill

Health Minister Leo Glavine is pushing ahead with the plan to merge the province's existing nine district health authorities into one. (CBC)

In last year's election campaign, Nova Scotia's Liberal Party promised to cut health administrations in order to reinvest those savings into front-line care.

At the time, the party claimed it would be able to find $13 million in savings each year.

Health Minister Leo Glavine is pushing ahead with the plan to merge the province's existing nine district health authorities into one. The IWK Health Centre will continue to exist as a separate health entity.

Glavine now says the merger will save about $5 million or more a year — that is, once CEOs and senior executives affected by the merger are paid severances and whatever other payments they are entitled to under their contracts.

Meanwhile, leaders of Nova Scotia's public sector unions have vowed to fight the bill as it would change the collective bargaining process for health-care workers, saying such legislation would be an attack on their labour rights.

Here's a look at the health authorities merger and the unions it affects:

Who are the players?

  • Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU)
  • Nova Scotia Nurses' Union (NSNU)
  • Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
  • Unifor (Amalgamation of Canadian Auto Workers and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions)

Who do they represent?

The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents a total of 11,867 health workers including:

  • 2,489 registered nurses in the Capital District Health Authority.
  • 660 licensed practical nurses.
  • 4,028 health workers other than nurses.
  • 2,646 clerical workers.
  • 1,206 service workers including laundry, kitchen and housekeeping staff.
  • 838 public health, addictions service and care co-ordinators.

The Nova Scotia Nurses' Union represents a total of 5,028 health workers:

  • 561 licensed practical nurses.
  • 4,467 registered nurses.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents a total of 4,653 workers including:

  • 488 licensed practical nurses.
  • 2,070 health workers other than nurses.
  • 1,030 clerical workers.
  • 1,022 service workers.
  • 43 public health, addictions service and care co-ordinators.

Unifor represents a total of 2,289 health workers including:

  • 452 licensed practical nurses.
  • 725 heath workers other than nurses.
  • 1,112 service workers including laundry, kitchen and housekeeping staff.

Where they work

Most nurses with the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union work at Halifax-area hospitals in the Capital District Health Authority.

The nurses at the IWK Health Centre are represented entirely by the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union nurses.

The Nova Scotia Nurses' Union also represents most of the nurses outside the Capital District Health Authority as well as nurses at the Dartmouth General Hospital, Cobequid Community Health Centre, Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital, Hants Community Hospital, Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital and the Twin Oaks Memorial Hospital.

Canadian Union of Public Employees workers staff hospitals on mainland Nova Scotia.

Unifor workers staff primarily Cape Breton facilities or those in the Guysborough-Antigonish area.

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