Employers Welcome Unions' Cooperation and Response To H1N1

BEDFORD, NS, Nov. 4 /CNW/ - Three of the four major healthcare unions in Nova Scotia have agreed to suspend all collective bargaining activities until at least the New Year. This move is in response to the increased pressures that the H1N1 flu pandemic is placing on the province's health system. In addition, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has agreed that there won't be any potential job action before January 11, 2010.

CUPE had recently declared an impasse during conciliation talks with the Cape Breton District Health Authority and is moving to take a strike vote this week with members of the clerical bargaining unit in the District.

"The Employers are appreciative of the cooperation being shown by the unions," says Pat Lee, CEO of the Pictou County Health Authority. "We all have a responsibility to respond appropriately to this public health emergency and to ensure that health care workers can continue to provide care and support to the people we serve every day, especially at this time. We are all doing the right thing and putting the needs of the public first."

On Monday, Acute Care Employers asked each of the four major health care unions to put all bargaining related activities on hold for the next few months to help allow for the best system-wide response possible in relation to the H1N1 pandemic situation.

As part of the proposed arrangement with CUPE, the Acute Care Employers with other CUPE bargaining units (all Districts outside of the Capital District) have also agreed to the union's request to acknowledge that planned conciliation talks will be cancelled and considered to be at an impasse. This position was confirmed earlier today with CUPE through the Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations, which coordinates bargaining for the Employers.

If the H1N1 flu activity continues to affect the public and the health system through January, the Employers are hopeful that CUPE would consider adopting the position the remaining three health care unions have taken. That would be to consider extending the suspension of any collective-bargaining activities or job action.

CUPE represents approximately 3500 workers in 18 bargaining units across the province. This includes employees in service, clerical and healthcare positions. The employers' bargaining teams include management and Human Resources representatives from the districts. The Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations (NSAHO) coordinates contract negotiations for the employers.

SOURCE NOVA SCOTIA ACUTE CARE EMPLOYERS BARGAINING COMMITTEE

For further information: For further information: Employers Bargaining Committees Media Contact: Greg Boone, Director, Public Affairs, Cape Breton District Health Authority, (902) 567-7791, pager (902) 567-9377

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NOVA SCOTIA ACUTE CARE EMPLOYERS BARGAINING COMMITTEE

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