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The chance of a negotiated end to contract talks between 3,000 CUPE hospital workers and 35 hospitals across the province have been dashed, after the hospitals refused to bargain on over 40 outstanding issues.

CUPE has decided not to wait for the Conciliation Officer to file his report, and has applied for Final Offer Selection (FOS). FOS is a form of binding arbitration, which three of the major health care unions in Nova Scotia agreed to in the summer of 2001. This was after the Hamm government agreed to withdraw the controversial Bill 68 which would have taken away hospital workers right to strike.

Under the FOS process, both the union and employer present their so-called best offer to a Selector, who then chooses one package or the other.As we had feared from the outset of bargaining in September, 2001, the employer could not resist the temptation to roll the dice on the FOS form of binding arbitration.