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Some 3,000 CUPE hospital workers in Nova Scotia have a new and improved collective agreement.

An arbitration ruling handed down by Bruce Outhouse is the conclusion of a round of bargaining that started just over one year ago, and was then interrupted by the Hamm government’s attempt to take away the right to strike for hospital workers.

The public outcry over Bill 68 proved too much for even the Hamm Tories and the bill was withdrawn and replaced by binding arbitration.

CUPE Hospital Co-ordinator Wayne Thomas calls the Outhouse ruling, “an important victory on behalf of hospital workers. It is both fair and reasonable and our members deserve nothing less than that.

This ruling now means that more than 600 CUPE clerical workers will be working 7 hours a day, rather than 7.5. It gives them true wage parity with other clerical workers in Nova Scotia,” says Thomas.

The new contract for 3,000 CUPE hospital workers also includes wage increases and improved protection against contracting out. It runs from April 1, 2001 through to March 31, 2004.

CUPE represents the full spectrum of hospital workers, excluding RNs, everywhere in Nova Scotia except the Halifax area.