Bargaining for 1300 health care workers stalls in PEI.
Charlottetown (19 June 2012) - Discussions to determine a collective agreement between PEI Union of Public and Private Sector Employees (PEIUPSE/NUPGE) health bargaining unit and Health PEI have stalled. The two parties bargained for six days and had agreement on a number of non-economic issues.
Nonetheless, the parties were unable to agree on a wage package and job security. Health PEI representatives made one offer and did not choose to continue to bargain after receiving the union's proposal. Health PEI then maintained their original offer.
As a result, Health PEI has applied for conciliation. This move will bring the parties back to the bargaining table and will employ a conciliator from the provincial labour board. If this process does not result in an agreement then the parties will likely resort to the arbitration process.
PEIUPSE President, Shelley Ward, says that "the last collective agreement resulted in PEIUPSE/NUPGE wages becoming reflective of similar health professions in the Atlantic region. What we need to ask is: does government want to take a step back and lose health professionals to other provinces? The government has made efforts in the area of recruitment and retention of health professionals, it would be ill-advised to undo this work. It is possible that government's tough stance on wages could damage health care in the province. Perhaps we may not be able to retain enough health professionals to be able to deliver accredited health services. Islanders could see the number of health services decrease."
The PEIUPSE/NUPGE health bargaining unit is made up of close to 1400 health employees in the public health system including licensed practical nurses (LPNs), resident care workers (RCWs), home support workers, addiction workers, psychologists, speech language pathologists, audiologists, social workers, dietitians and pharmacists.
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