“This lack of disclosure makes us wonder if the government truly is sincere when they say they want to work with unions to find cost savings." — Joan Jessome, NSGEU President
Halifax (04 Nov. 2015) — The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) has received the first round of documents from various government departments in response to the Operation FOIPOP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) project that was started in September. One of the first requests, asking for details of the government’s Program Review process, has come back with a $6,000 cost estimate.
Operation FOIPOP uncovers government unwillingness to share information
“This lack of disclosure makes us wonder if the government truly is sincere when they say they want to work with unions to find cost savings,” says NSGEU President Joan Jessome.
Since mid-September, the NSGEU/NUPGE has been filing Freedom of Information applications in an effort to obtain information for upcoming rounds of negotiations, as Finance Minister Randy Delorey has called upon unions to get “creative and innovative” within the government’s mandate of “net-zero” bargaining.
“In order for us to be ‘creative and innovative,’ we need a great deal more information than was presented to us at our meeting with Minister Delorey on August 18,” explains Jessome.
$6,000 price tag to see government information
“So, we’re asking for information we need to reach those objectives. Unfortunately, the government is not only refusing to provide us with that information, they’re asking for thousands of dollars in order for us to see it.”
In addition, in response to another request for information on what government would expect unions to give up in exchange for wage increases, NSGEU/NUPGE received a one-page response which was entirely redacted.
Hard to fulfill government's request for cost savings when the province refuses to disclose information
In the spirit of cooperation and in accord with the Premier’s proclaimed Right to Know Week at the end of September, NSGEU/NUPGE has been formally requesting information the union needs to work with government to find their desired cost savings from the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner. All union requests and government responses are posted in full on the union's website: http://nsgeu.ca/operation-foipop/.
President Jessome has been summoned to a further meeting with Minister Delorey on November 5, where openness and transparency will be discussed.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE