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(Halifax) – The union representing some 3,000 nursing home and residential homes workers in Nova Scotia says the looming provincial election may be costing Nova Scotians tens of thousands of dollars – unnecessarily.

As a result, the Canadian Union of Public Employees says it may be taking the Minister of Labour to court over stalled contract talks which are costing taxpayers huge dollars.

CUPE Long Term Care Co-ordinator Kelly Murray says, “We will be sending a lawyer’s letter to Ron Russell, the Minister of Labour and the Environment, charging that the department’s own Conciliation Officers appear to be deliberately dragging their heels in this round of talks. One can’t help but conclude that department staff have been ’directed’ to avoid a strike scenario for 3,000 homes workers between now and the end of June.”

Most political observers peg the election call for some time in May, meaning the election would be held by the end of June.

“As a result of this,” says Murray, “instead of having CUPE’s preferred choice of one central round of bargaining for 37 homes, we have Conciliation Officers ordering separate rounds of conciliation all over the province. This is an absurd waste of taxpayers’ dollars. Something stinks in Denmark on this one,” says the veteran union negotiator.

Murray says the union is waiting to hear back from the minister on how he plans to remedy the situation. CUPE has maintained from the outset of this round of talks that central bargaining - with all major, monetary items being negotiated centrally - is the more cost-effective and sensible route.

For information:
Kelly Murray, CUPE Long Term Care Co-ordinator
(902) 455-4180 (o)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Representative
(902) 455-4180 (o)