Nova Scotia nurses agree to interest arbitration

Union places hopes on series of lucrative interest awards

The 2,500 registered nurses employed by the Capital District Health Authority (CDHA) in Nova Scotia voted 65 per cent in favour of a new collective agreement on June 30.

Members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU), the RNs accepted a mediator’s report that will refer all outstanding issues to arbitration. Among these issues is wage increases and length of the contract.

In urging its members to support the tentative agreement, the union pointed to a series of arbitrated settlements in which the arbitrator ruled that nurses at the CDHA should be the highest paid in Atlantic Canada. It is expecting that this trend will continue.

The NSGEU is asking for four per cent per year over a three-year agreement and the CDHA is offering one per cent per year over a two-year agreement.

The details that have already been agreed to include a $15 overtime meal allowance, improvements to vacation entitlements, recognition of alternative religious holidays, mandatory union representation at discipline above a verbal warning, an increase from three weeks per year of service to four weeks for the Transition Support Program severance payment, an increase from $1.50 to $1.75 for shift and weekend premiums, and diversity language.

Also in the Nova Scotia healthcare sector, the 750 paramedical professional members of the NSGEU working at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax were also completing a ratification vote on June 30. The results have not been announced, nor have details of the tentative agreement.

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