CUPE sets strike deadline of Jan. 18

Harry Sullivan
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TRURO - The provincial government and health-care employers across most of Nova Scotia have been given an extra week to try to reach a settlement with unionized workers.
Jan. 18 has been set as the official strike deadline by health-care and school employees outside Halifax following a meeting yesterday in Dartmouth.
Health-care workers with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) could have taken to the streets as early as next Monday. The school employees have also been in a legal strike position since December but both groups opted to provide an additional week of bargaining potential.
"We did that now because we suspect the public and the employers deserve proper notice, other than 48 hours (the legal notice requirement)," said Karen MacKenzie, president of CUPE Local 2525 and an employee with the Colchester East Hants Health Authority (CEHHA).
"Our interest isn't to hold the public or the employers hostage. Our interest is to give them a date ... for the government to come back to the table or for employers to start ramping down services."
Talks between the healthcare workers and the government broke down in October. Both groups have been offered a one per cent wage increase but they are holding out for a 2.9 per cent increase for the first year of a three-year deal, to keep wages on par with that received by CUPE employees in Halifax.
The government has said it is sticking to the one per cent offer.
"So it gives about a week and a bit for the government to call us back to the table and get some kind of resolve for this," MacKenzie said.
CEHHA CEO Peter MacKinnon said while he hopes a settlement can be reached without strike action, the extra week does provide a bit of breathing space as officials plan how to deal with providing in-patient care in the event of a
"It's, I think, good news," he said. "It's good to have a bit more time to consider our plans and deal with our contingencies and I think it's also good to give folks a bit more time to get back to the table and try to reach a settlement."
The authority had been planning to start relocating some patients by today but MacKinnon said those plans are now pushed back by about a week.
Approximately 4,100 health-care workers and 3,700 school employees are involved in the potential strike action.

Organizations: Canadian Union of Public Employees, Colchester East Hants Health Authority, CUPE Local 2525

Geographic location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Dartmouth

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Recent comments

  • Jc
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    Jeffrey Flemming - EA's are NSGEU not CUPE.

  • Larry
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Isn't this the same union president yesterday that was ready to put 7500 people out on the streets next Monday. Obviously some cooler heads prevailed and allowed a little time for negotiation. God help those union members that have a president like this guiding them by talking first without thinking. I'm sure the members know that it's January and going to be cold on the picket line!

  • I don't believe
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I think it just a show the government and CUPE are putting on. Just like last fall

  • chief wiggam
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    equal pay for equal work

  • Gortex
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I hope this doesn't happen. If custodians and bus drivers strike, the schools won't remain open for long.

    Regular classroom teachers will get paid no matter what, and could probably use the days to do planning/PD Days/prep work.

    But I have friends who are substitute teachers. If the schools are closed, it means there'll be no chance for them to pick up any work. No work = no income.

    Strikes end up hurting a lot of people. I guess that's why they're such a powerful weapon in a union's arsenal.

    Let's hope this gets settled ASAP!

  • moi
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    just do it already and get it over with, seriously though take the money from the ones sitting on there behinds and give it to the ones that want to work,better yet get rid of the treaty and boom there ya got your money to cover it.or even yet if halifax is so much better then move there