Nova Scotia health care workers accept tentative agreement | Unions Yeah!

Nova Scotia health care workers accept tentative agreement

“We are pleased we were ultimately able to negotiate an agreement with their employers and government that begins to get them back on track to where they need to be: leading in Atlantic Canada.” — Jason MacLean, NSGEU President

Halifax (14 July 2021) — Nova Scotia’s health care workers have voted to ratify a new collective agreement. 82% of the members who voted cast their ballot to accept the agreement, which provides for reasonable wage increases in each of the 3 years it spans, as well as significant language improvements.

Negotiations secured contract improvements

The contract is effective from November 1, 2020 to October 31, 2023. Among other things, highlights of this agreement include:

  •  A 5.5% wage increase for all pay grades (1.5% effective Nov. 1, 2020, 1.5% effective Nov. 1, 2021, 1.5% effective Nov. 1, 2022, and 1% effective the final day of the agreement, Oct. 31, 2023);
  • Additional wage increases for Care Team Assistants (CTAs), amounting to 2% on yjr date of ratification and 3% on June 1, 2022;
  • Matching Acute Care Paramedics’ rates of pay to those of IOUE retroactive to Nov. 1st, 2020;
  • Creation of a joint Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Reconciliation Committee, composed of equal representation from employers and the unions.

 “These workers are dedicated to their jobs, and they have stepped up for Nova Scotians in a very big way throughout this pandemic,” said Jason MacLean, President of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE). “We are pleased we were ultimately able to negotiate an agreement with their employers and government that begins to get them back on track to where they need to be: leading in Atlantic Canada.”

7 years of austerity led to health care workers falling behind

As part of the bargaining process, the unions conducted extensive wage analysis, comparing the wages of many health care occupations throughout the country. That analysis showed that wages for many of Nova Scotia’s health care workers have fallen below where they should be in comparison to other provinces. This is in large part due to 7 years of austerity by the provincial government.

 “The wage improvements in this new agreement are a positive step forward, particularly for Care Team Assistants, in recognizing the value of these frontline workers,” said Linda MacNeil, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director. “This contract provides a solid foundation to build on to keep and attract healthcare workers to provide vital services to Nova Scotians.”

"Even though, we realize there are still issues to bring forward in 2023, we were positive that the agreement reached on July 6 was definitely in the best interest of the members,” said Les Duff, Acting President of Local 8920.

 The Health Care Council of Unions (NSGEU/NUPGE, Unifor, and CUPE), collectively represent approximately 7,500 health care workers working in a wide variety of roles at Nova Scotia Health (NSH) throughout the province and the IWK.