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TRURO - CUPE Acute Care Co-ordinator Wayne Thomas says, “Mediation only works if all the parties involved feel vulnerable enough to work toward a solution.

The way this bill is structured, however, meant that the employer had zero reason to come up with a mediated settlement, since they weren’t vulnerable in any way. “Thanks to this bill, HANS (Health Care Associations of Nova Scotia) knew they could simply sit back and wait for the arbitration phase, where the Act spells out in detail what will happen, with the unions having no say in the matter” says Thomas.

CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh, meanwhile, says, “Bill 1 put all four unions in the untenable position of having to horse-trade their own members. No union worth their salt would ever consider doing that. “That’s what makes this bill so cynical and diabolical.

The government knew we would never betray our own members in this way,” says Cavanagh. With the process now proceeding to arbitration, the legislation dictates that CUPE could be assigned to one of three new bargaining units - support, clerical or healthcare. Says Thomas, “In two of those three options, hundreds of CUPE members – many of them long-term members - will no longer be in the union of their choice.”