The following joint news release was issued by the Nova Scotia Health Care Council of Unions this morning.

After more than a year of bargaining, the Nova Scotia Health Care Council of Unions is announcing that it will soon hold Nova Scotia’s first ever province-wide Health Care Bargaining Unit strike vote.

The Council of Unions says the employer’s representing the NSHA and IWK have slowed the pace of bargaining significantly over the last two months. The Council of Unions have tabled an entire collective agreement package, while the employers have only tabled individual proposals. The Council of Unions believes that the only way to get the NSHA and IWK to take health care bargaining seriously is to initiate a province-wide strike vote.

The Nova Scotia Council of Health Care Unions includes the NSGEU, CUPE, Unifor and NSNU. The Health Care Bargaining Unit represents 6500 health care members. The NSGEU is the chief negotiator with CUPE as the deputy negotiator.

The 6,500 members represented by the Council of Health Care Unions needs to send Stephen McNeil a message that he direct the Employers to take bargaining seriously and get a deal done. Considerable time and resources have gone into these negotiations and it is time to get a deal so the government can refocus their attention on addressing the crisis in health care.

Details of the strike vote will be released in the coming days.

All the votes of Health Care Bargaining Unit members from all the unions at both the NSHA and IWK will be counted together as required by the constitution. Each of the four unions will conduct their own votes, including holding information sessions as required. The result of the vote will be made public.

It is important to note that the Council of Unions is not walking away from the table. There are more conciliation dates set for April and May – and the Council of Unions will be there. The Council of Unions is requesting that the employers come to the table ready to actually bargain.

Health care members from one end of this province to the other deserve a new collective agreement.

The Council of Unions, NSHA and IWK have further conciliation dates set for April 10, 11, 12 and again on May 2, 3, and 4.