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(New Glasgow) – Contract talks between 3,500 CUPE hospital workers and eight District Health Authorities across the province have broken off.

CUPE’s Acute Care Co-ordinator Wayne Thomas says, “After what has been a long and extremely difficult bargaining process to date, the employers finally tabled a package which included a wage offer that can only be described as not coming close to meeting our expectations.”

Thomas says what is at issue is the very fundamental concept of wage parity with hospital workers in the Capital District Health Authority (CDHA).  “This is something that CUPE hospital workers have spent the last ten 10 years achieving, and it is not something they are about to simply walk away from,” says Thomas.

In fact, says Thomas, “most of what we have left on the table involves us trying to maintain and replicate rights that are enjoyed by other groups in the sector.” 

The package put before us would leave workers outside the CDHA with wage rates that are between 2% and 8% behind their counterparts in Halifax,” he says.

CUPE will be holding the first of 18 strike votes on Thursday, November 5 in Sydney.