Annapolis Valley Labour Council picket Glavine's office in support of striking nurses

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Members of the Annapolis Valley Labour Council were picketing inside Leo Glavine's office April 3.

Activists with the Annapolis Valley District Labour Council have occupied Health Minister Leo Glavine’s constituency office this morning to protest the introduction of Bill 37. 

The essential services bill could go into effect as early as April 4. Protesters say it would take away the right to strike from 36,000 health care and community workers across the province.

“This legislation is outrageous,” says Dean Tupper, president of the labour council. “Without any consultation or discussion, the government is legislating away the rights of thousands of Nova Scotian workers.”

Tupper said the sit-in was in support of strike action taken by NSGEU Local 97 registered nurses in the Capital Health District. The labour council represents several unions with workers involved in the health care system.

“We believe the health care workers have the right to collective bargaining,” Tupper said. “This won’t be settled through legislation.”

Legislation like Bill 37 is currently before the courts in other provinces. Tupper says it is highly likely that if this bill passes, there will be a legal challenge that could go as far as the Supreme Court.

“This legislation will not prevent strikes. If anything, it will make them more frequent and longer. We call on Health Minister Leo Glavine to withdraw the bill, work with health care workers, and stop picking fights with the people who care for us everyday,” said Tupper.

Tupper said prior to the sit-in that Premier Stephen McNeil has spoken against legislating workers back to the job in the past, but now seems willing to take such action.

Tupper said the protest likely wouldn’t last long before the RCMP are called and “we will leave when the RCMP ask us to leave.” However, he said, the labour council would always stand up for free collective bargaining.

Staff at Glavine's Kingston office said the protestors were welcomed to stay as long as they liked, provided they do not disrupt business, and indicated there are no plans to call the RCMP.

Read more about the nursing strike here.

Read more about Annapolis Valley Health's plan to minimize impact here

 

Organizations: Annapolis Valley Labour Council, Annapolis Valley Health

Geographic location: Halifax, Kingston

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  • Anne
    April 03, 2014 - 12:55

    Thank you very much for showing your support for us nurses and caring for the safety and well being of Nova Scotians! Bravo!