Unanswered Questions in Nova Scotia Health Care Bargaining

March 7, 2012, 12:30 PM EST

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Provincial government and employer plans to merge some hospital administration in Nova Scotia have left many workers with unanswered questions and concerns regarding the future, the CAW says.

CAW Locals 4606, 4603 and 4600 represent approximately 2,000 workers in Nova Scotia hospitals and the locals are currently in bargaining for new collective agreements. The CAW represents Nova Scotia health care workers who include pharmacists, occupational therapists, licensed practical nurses, carpenters, cooks and laundry employees.

The Nova Scotia government, district health authorities and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax recently announced the merger of several administrative services after consultants Ernst and Young were hired to analyze whether savings could be found.

After considering the final report, the province and district health authorities agreed to merge some administrative and laundry services. But the Nova Scotia Health Minister has since indicated the province won't action all recommendations, including the contracting out of services such as laundry to private companies.

Jim Mott, business agent for CAW Local 4606, said "we are not surprised that private consultants Ernst and Young recommended privatizing some services in our health care system. The employer track record clearly supports this direction"

Jimmy Callahan, president of CAW Local 4603, said "the fact that the government did not accept Ernst and Young's recommendation to privatize laundry services is positive.  But this is only phase one of the review exercise. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how these changes will take place. The uncertainty of the future cuts and merger of services is very unsettling for our members," Callahan said.
"Exactly who will be providing these merged services? asked Wayne MacPherson, president of CAW Local 4600. "The minister talked about an 'alternative service delivery' model. The report by Ernst and Young mentions other services such as Diagnostic Imaging. What are the government's plans for other services? None of this has been revealed," MacPherson said. "Our members have a lot of questions that we cannot answer at this point."

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