"Capital Health bureaucrats and this government are ignoring the front-line workers' cries for help and pushing nurses into a position where they are forced to either continue to work in an unsafe environment, or take action." — Joan Jessome, NSGEU President.
Halifax (24 Mar. 2014) — Despite the best efforts of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) registered nurses bargaining committee at Capital Health, mediation has proven to be unsuccessful, as this employer still refuses to address nurses' serious concerns surrounding patient safety, scheduling and replacing nurses off work due to illness.
Safety issues at forefront of negotiations for NSGEU registered nurses at Capital Health
On the important issue of recent unsafe changes to scheduling practices, the employer’s final message to nurses was “they are not prepared to undo what they have done.”
"Capital Health bureaucrats and this government are ignoring the front line workers' cries for help and pushing nurses into a position where they are forced to either continue to work in an unsafe environment, or take action," says Joan Jessome, NSGEU President.
Capital Health claims it made "significant changes" to its proposal during mediation. That is patently false.
Nova Scotia government's interference in bargaining has provided no incentive for employers to bargain in good faith
The McNeil government has consistently interfered in the bargaining process until now. Their interference in bargaining for home support workers last month played a key role in nurses’ talks collapsing, as Capital Health approached the bargaining process with the expectation that government would bring in essential services legislation, so there was no incentive for the employer to truly bargain in good faith.
Nurses have clearly told the NSGEU/NUPGE that they will not stand idly by and allow government to continue to meddle in their negotiations and introduce essential services legislation.
"McNeil should not move to silence nurses with legislation. Instead, he should listen to nurses’ concerns,” says Jessome.
Nurses commit to staffing hospital in the event of a strike
In the event of a strike, nurses have committed to fully staff the Emergency Room, intensive care unit, veterans’ care, hemodialysis and cancer care, as well as provide basic coverage in many other areas.
Capital Health’s Manager of Labour Relations, Dave Collins, confirmed in a letter dated March 19 that the employer is preparing to ensure the hospital is staffed in the event of job action: “We have now reached an impasse in conciliation and therefore it is necessary for us to be contingency planning with some urgency.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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