CUPE opposes N.S.'s proposed strike ban

Health-care disputes would be settled through binding mediation or arbitration

The president of Canada's largest union, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), has publicly decried Nova Scotia's proposed legislation to ban strikes by health-care workers.

The proposed legislation, the product of public consultations that started in June, would ban strikes and lockouts and settle bargaining impasse with binding mediation or binding arbitration.

Paul Moist, CUPE president and Danny Cavanaugh, president of CUPE Nova Scotia, wrote Premier Rodney McDonald stating they are "deeply disturbed" to hear the province is introducing legislation to amend the Trade Union Act in order to "take away the right to strike from some 32,000 health and community care workers in Nova Scotia."

Both the NDP and Liberal party have publicly stated they won't support the law, and with a minority Conservative government the bill has little chance of becoming law.

Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Alberta have replace strikes with binding arbitration for health workers.

However, a report from Ottawa's Centre for Policy Alternatives that compared lost work days in the health-care field in Nova Scotia and Alberta in the 25 years since Alberta banned health-care strikes found the legislation could cause more labour disputes. A Tale of Two Provinces found Alberta lost 15 times more work days due to illegal strikes than Nova Scotia in the same period.

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