NS government invites further upheaval with Bill 1

HALIFAX, Feb. 20, 2015 /CNW/ - The Bill 1 rollercoaster ride for Unifor's Nova Scotia health care members got even bumpier Friday when the government announced it would introduce a second piece of legislation to determine union representation rather than follow arbitrator James Dorsey's decision and recommendations.

"Our goal from the beginning was to find a way to ensure that Unifor members could remain proud Unifor members and we were prepared to work with the other unions to achieve a collaborative structure as recommended by Mr. Dorsey," said Atlantic Regional Director Lana Payne. "Unifor has believed from the beginning that Bill 1's heavy-handed interference in the union representation of health care workers was not necessary for the government to achieve its stated goals."

The past year has been a time of great uncertainty for workers in the Nova Scotia acute care system.

"Friday's events have only added to the worries being felt by Unifor members who are proud of the work they do to deliver high-quality care to Nova Scotians," said Payne. 

The government's unprecedented move on Friday followed a decision by Mr. Dorsey who left the door open for an amalgamated union structure in both the nursing (including LPNs) and service bargaining units. This would have required the unions to collaborate in order to meet majoritarian principles of labour law which he defined in his earlier decision. Mr. Dorsey had awarded the health care unit to NSGEU, but needed more documentation before awarding them the clerical unit. NSGEU had majorities in both these units. The Arbitrator found that he could not appoint a union for either the service or nursing units because no union had the majority needed. Unifor has members in the nursing, health care and service support units.

Mr. Dorsey maintained that the principles underlying labour law must be adhered to. 

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.


For further information: please contact Unifor Communications Staff Representative Shelley Burgoyne at shelley.burgoyne@unifor.org or (cell) 902-717-7491.

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