Nursing Bargaining Unit Update – June 18, 2018


The Nova Scotia Council of Nursing Unions completed two days of discussion on Friday, June 15. The Council of Nursing met on June 14th and 15th to prepare bargaining proposals.

Over the course of the meetings, the 26-member Council discussed bargaining priorities and collective agreements from all four unions (NSGEU, CUPE, Unifor and NSNU) in acute care. The team will have to review contract language for all nurses, in all categories, to reach consensus on what to preserve, what to expand upon and what compromises may be required.

These inaugural meetings were very productive, but additional dates are required this summer in order to be fully prepared before exchanging proposals with the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and IWK on September 5th. The Nursing Council will meet again on July 3 – 4th and August 22 – 23rd.

The Nursing Unions have, over the last year or so, been surveying and talking to members about bargaining priorities and the new realities of negotiations in Nova Scotia. The Nursing Council met on previous occasions for preliminary introductions and instruction when the full Nova Scotia Council of Health Care Unions has convened.

The parties have since agreed to send nursing to the table last as there are unique nursing-related issues to be dealt with in bargaining and potentially in mediation – arbitration.

In mid May of this year, health care workers in acute care voted to accept an agreement with the NSHA and IWK that would allow any issues that cannot be resolved at the negotiating table to be sent to the independent, third-party mediator-arbitrator (William Kaplan) for a final and binding award. Mr. Kaplan has set aside November 19-23 for Nursing Bargaining Unit mediation – arbitration. The Employer and the Council of Unions accepted these dates.

The agreement provides wage increases over a six-year term (2014-2020), including retroactive pay, protects key benefits and provides a mediation arbitration process that will conclude all collective agreements for the four bargaining units in Nursing, Health Care, Support Services, and Administrative Professionals by the end of 2018.

Also under this agreement the parties agree to waive all rights to strike and lockout under the Trade Union Act and agree that no Essential Services Agreement applications will be filed with the Nova Scotia Labour Board while Mediation /Arbitration is pending, unless mutually agreed otherwise by the parties.

In the meantime, the Council of Nursing Unions is working hard to ensure that your best interests are represented. The team thanks you for your continued support of its members across the province and commits to keeping you informed as bargaining progresses through regular updates using a variety of communications tools at the disposal and discretion of the Nursing Unions.

Aside from six staff representatives, the Council of Nursing Unions bargaining committee is comprised of 11 members from NSNU, seven NSGEU, one from CUPE and one from Unifor.

Bargaining Update June 1 2018


Since health care workers across Nova Scotia voted 93% to ratify the mediation / arbitration agreement with the NSHA and IWK, the unions representing those workers have done much work on the next phase of the bargaining process that will conclude new collective agreements for all four bargaining units (Health Care, Administrative Professionals, Support Services and Nursing) by the end of 2018.

Each bargaining unit will have the opportunity to bargain with the Employers for the priorities that matter most to them. Any remaining issues, where agreement cannot be reached, will be decided by the mediator-arbitrator, William Kaplan.

The Health Care Bargaining Unit has been negotiating for over 18-months. Over the coming weeks The Health Care Bargaining Unit will work with union lawyers at Pink Larkin to prepare for the upcoming mediation / arbitration. That work may involve returning to the bargaining table to try to resolve as many issues as possible. The most contentious issues will go to the mediator-arbitrator. The Health Care Bargaining Committee continues to work to ensure the priorities that matter most to you will go to Mr. Kaplan with the greatest chance for an outcome in your favour.

Mr. Kaplan has now provided dates for mediation / arbitration for all four bargaining units. The Health Care Bargaining Unit mediation / arbitration will run from July 30 to August 4. The Union and the Employers have agreed that Support Services will go into mediation / arbitration second. Mr. Kaplan has set aside September 18 for that mediation arbitration. This will give the parties time to negotiate before that process happens. Kaplan anticipates only one day will be required for the mediation / arbitration because many of the outstanding issues will be resolved at the Health Care table. The parties have concluded that the Administrative Professional Bargaining Unit mediation / arbitration will be third and will take place on September 19. Again, this leaves time for the parties to bargain at the table and the mediation / arbitration will only require a day because most outstanding issues will be resolved at the Health Care table.

The parties have agreed to send nursing to the table last. There are a number of unique nursing related issues that will need to be dealt with in bargaining and in mediation / arbitration so Mr. Kaplan set aside November 19-23 for the Nursing Bargaining Unit mediation / arbitration. The Employer and the Council of Unions mutually agreed to these dates.

The mediation / arbitration agreement does deliver wage increases, retroactive pay back to 2014, protection of your current sick leave and retiree benefits, and the option for early pay out of your retirement allowance.

The Employers have started the preliminary work to create options and a system to facilitate the pay out of the retirement allowance, including looking at the system and options used by the civil service agreement. That work will continue and once a plan is ready it will be communicated to you.

The Employers are also working on a date when the retro pay will be paid out. Once a date has been determined we will communicate it to you.

This has been a long and difficult process and we thank you for your patience and support. The finish line is in sight but there is still a lot of work to do for all four bargaining units. We will continue to communicate updates and information as it becomes available. Please forward any questions via your Area VP, contact information is available on the website at

Education Opportunities


                           Education Guidelines

  • Along with the Bylaws section 17 Education, the following guidelines will be enforced to minimize costs and to best serve the needs of the membership.
  • All Local 8920 members are eligible to attend CUPE workshops in the Dartmouth/Halifax geographical location.
  • Local 8920 members who reside within 250 kms of a geographical location other than Dartmouth/Halifax where a CUPE workshop is being held are eligible to attend.
  • The Executive Board in consultation with the Education Coordinator can make the determination of a need and/or repeat for specific workshops for 8920 members.
  • The Education Coordinator shall arrange this in as convenient location as possible.
  • The registration Form located on the CUPE 8920 website is the only accepted way of registering for attendance and having expenses covered.
  • Acceptance will be based on past education and needs of the local The Steward Learning Series counts as 1 of the 5 per year, however to attend you must need at least 2 of the 3 modules offered to attend.
  • The Weeklong School counts as two of the 5 per year. Special consideration will be given to immediate educational needs to carry out your role in the local.