Unionized workers, employers trying to hammer out a deal
Talks resume at bargaining table
TRURO - Unionized hospital support workers and their employers sat down together on Friday for the first time in more than two months in an effort to avert a province-wide strike.
Just before walking into the closed-door meeting at the Glengarry Hotel and Convention Centre in Truro, Canadian Union of Public Employees Nova Scotia president Danny Canvanagh said members want to do everything possible to avoid a labour disruption. However, they are prepared to walk off the job if last-minute discussions don't resolve outstanding contract issues.
"We're just frankly happy to have our committees back at the table," Cavanagh said. "We hold complete optimism a negotiated settlement can be reached."
Both CUPE bargain teams, representing acute care and school board employees, gave their employers 48-hour strike notice Friday morning, putting the groups in a legal position to walk off the job if a resolution isn't reached by Monday at 6 a.m.
While representatives of both bargaining teams attended the meeting, the first team to resume negotiations were acute care workers. School board negotiations are scheduled to resume on Sunday.
Prior to launching into negotiations, representatives from the 14 locals present took a moment to reflect on the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Canadians who perished in the earthquake, as well as those who are still awaiting word on loved ones who were in Haiti," said Cavanagh.
The locals donated $4,050 toward earthquake relief, which was matched by CUPE Nova Scotia.
In addition, the Nova Scotia Highway Workers Union (CUPE Local 1867) donated $1,000.