Nurses reach agreement on new contract

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For acute and long-term care nurses

Talks between the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union and employers for acute and long-term care nurses successfully concluded Wednesday with agreements for nurses working in both health-care sectors.

HALIFAX – Talks between the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union and employers for acute and long-term care nurses successfully concluded Wednesday with agreements for nurses working in both health-care sectors.

Nurses working at the IWK, Dartmouth General, Cobequid Health Centre and hospitals in all other regions of the province, as well as approximately 1,000 nurses in long-term care will benefit from this two year deal if the tentative agreement is ratified.

“Our goal this round was to address important work-life issues and secure wage increments that maintain our top ranking with counterparts in Atlantic Canada. 

We achieved those goals within nine bargaining days with all nine district health authorities and the IWK at one table. We are very pleased,” said Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union.

Of particular importance for the NSNU is language that addresses patient safety and work-balance for both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.

“The negotiating committee proposed language in keeping with trends in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario to help guarantee the complement of nursing staff is appropriate to the acuity of care required. The new language ensures a mechanism for dialogue between all the parties on complex issues and conditions that affect workload,” said Hazelton.

Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions of which the NSNU is a member organization says that this significant achievement will have a positive impact on nurses, patients and their families.

“The connection between heavy nursing workloads and declining patient care and safety has been exhaustively researched. Placing emphasis on this issue in hospitals and other health care facilities is imperative. I want to congratulate the NSNU on being the first nurse union in Atlantic Canada to negotiate contract language around safe staffing,” said Silas.

Approximately 6,000 members of the Nurses’ Union are affected by the outcome of these negotiations. This wage settlement is retroactive to November 2012 and the contract itself will expire on Oct. 31, 2014.

The NSNU hopes to release the results of the vote count for both the acute care and long term care agreements on Nov. 13.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Nurses, Cobequid Health Centre, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Saskatchewan Manitoba Ontario

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