March 31, 2014:Workers Rights Under Attack

Essential Services legislation introduced tonight by Stephen MacNeil's Liberal government is an attack on the Collective Bargaining Rights of ALL Healthcare workers in Nova Scotia.They say History repeats itself when people forget their past. Well folks "The Savage Years" are here again! If you are too young to remember the last Liberal government's attacks on workers' rights in the 90s (including nurses and teachers) you are abou...t to receive a new lesson. Fresh on the heels of an Essential Services bill passed by the Liberals a month ago which targeted Nova Scotia's vulnerable Home Support Workers and CCA's (a work force made up of 99% women and the oldest work force in the province) tonight Stephen McNeil announced yet another Essential Services bill encompassing ALL HEALTH CARE  AND COMMUNITY SERVICES WORKERS (including: nurses, hospitals,  homes for seniors, paramedics, the disabled or youth, and 911 operators).

Please rest assured your NDP Caucus are standing up for the 40,000 Nova Scotians who are affected by this bill.

Leading the fight in an all night session in the House of Assembly is our Acting NDP Leader (and former Minister of Health) Maureen MacDonald.

"Workers in this province have fought long and hard to earn their collective bargaining rights," said MacDonald. "If Stephen McNeil thinks he can sweep away those rights in an evening he is sorely mistaken."

"Stephen McNeil has botched negotiations with the nurses since the beginning," she says. "This misguided legislation will make what was already a difficult situation much worse."

MacDonald expressed deep concern that the legislation targets not only nurses but the entire healthcare sector, along with community services employees such as group home and residential care workers.

She added, "If Stephen McNeil thought this was an emergency situation he could have introduced legislation last week. It's pretty clear he was attempting to avoid embarrassment over the weekend at the Liberal AGM, but even that failed."

This bill proves that in spite of Stephen McNeil's Liberals cozying up to some Unions in the years leading up to the past election, since gaining power he has shown complete disrespect for  Unions, and their members rights to fair Collective Bargaining. The impact from this action will be felt for years to come.

"This legislation will have a demoralizing effect on everyone working in our healthcare sector, from one end of Nova Scotia to the other," said MacDonald.

The NDP will take steps to ensure the bill receives a fair and thorough debate in the Legislature although with  the recent Liberal majority means that the Bill will pass no matter what we try to say or do. Welcome back to "the Savage Years" folks! Maybe in the next election people will remember which Party truly is the People's Party - the NDP - standing up for workers and those who are vulnerable.