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The bill will take away the right to strike from 9,000 acute care workers, including 3,000 health care workers in 35 hospitals represented by CUPE. CUPE has members in hospitals across the province, with the exception of the Capital District (Halifax and surrounding area)

A catch all provision in the bill [3 (c)] extends its grip to cover unionized employees of all District Health Authorities.

CUPEs Acute Care Co-ordinator, Wayne Thomas says, not only will this bill mean the immediate loss of the right to strike for CUPE members, but the government hasnt even replaced with an impartial process like binding arbitration which is the case in other jurisdictions.

Instead, says Thomas, this government has given itself the ultimate power to determine the outcome of labour disputes in a completely dictatorial fashion.

Bill 68 makes a mockery of collective bargaining, and the labour relations process for acute care workers in Nova Scotia, he says.

Says Thomas, By introducing this bill and trying to ram it through the legislature, Health Minister Jamie Muir has demonstrated his absolute contempt for frontline health care workers in Nova Scotia. I know I speak for all of our members when I say, CUPE will not take this sitting down.

CUPE will be calling an all-presidents meeting to co-ordinate the unions response to this bill. As well, CUPE is looking at pursuing a number of legal avenues to challenge this legislation.