After more than 18 months of negotiations, over 40 bargaining dates, multiple pieces of Liberal anti-labour legislation and countless protests, members of the Health Care Councils of Unions have voted 92% to ratify an agreement put forward by the Province.
This agreement will move negotiations between the employer and all four bargaining groups (Health Care, Administrative Professionals, Support Services and Nursing) into mediated-arbitration.
What this means for negotiations
Each of the four bargaining units will continue to bargain with their employers (the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK). However, with this agreement any issues that cannot be resolved at the table will go to a mediator-arbitrator for an independent and final award.
We anticipate that the Health Care bargaining unit will enter into arbitration near the end of July 2018. It is our hope that the employer and all four bargaining units will conclude collective agreements by the end of this year.
What this means for our members
- By voting yes, members voted to break the wage pattern of Bill 148 and will receive wage increases over the six-year term of 2014 to 2020.
- Members will receive retroactive pay.
- Sick leave and retiree benefits, that were targeted for clawback by the employers, have been protected.
- Members will have the choice to get early payout of retirement allowances (also known as the Long Service Award)
Thank you to all the members that voted both in favour and against this proposal. This was not a perfect solution and the Councils made the recommendation for ratification only after careful discussion and consideration.
It is important to note that this will be the first collective agreement negotiated by the Councils of Unions. These contracts, when concluded, will set the foundation for future negotiations.
Important language, provisions, rights and benefits have been protected and solidified in these negotiations. Key rights and benefits that you count on will be entrenched and the employers will have a much tougher job at clawing them back in the future.
On behalf of the Councils of Union executive and your bargaining committees – thank you. Only by working together could we have stood up to this government and these employers and earned a positive outcome. This process has made us stronger and together we will continue to fight for what is right and fair for our sisters and brothers across the province.