A letter from Nan McFadgen, president of CUPE Nova Scotia
For unions, Labour Day is our time to celebrate our work and the victories we win to make life better for everyone, like the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan.
There is also much to be done.
At the heart of what unions have always done, we fight for better jobs, safer workplaces and better lives. Simply put, it’s a labour of love. Which is why we are working hard to tackle issues like provincial budget cuts to long-term care, precarious work and the shrinking number of good jobs.
Unfortunately, legislation put forward by the McNeil government undermines the collective bargaining rights of tens of thousands of workers in Nova Scotia.
They’ve made it harder for workers to exercise their right to organize by removing the automatic right to first contract arbitration.
They have limited the ability of health care, home care and community services workers to take meaningful job action.
Employers who receive funding from the province are now compelled to enforce a four-year deal with two years of wage freezes, and a major concession on Long Service Awards. Arbitrators are prohibited from awarding more.
If proclaimed, Bill 148 (the Public Services Sustainability Act) will obstruct union members’ right to bargain wages.
All of this should trouble Nova Scotians – whether or not they are unionized workers. There is a direct relationship between attacks upon unions and the quality of life all Nova Scotians enjoy.
When workers, through their unions, are able to bargain freely for decent wages, benefits and pensions, there are benefits for society as a whole.
Decent wages and pensions mean better lives for workers and their families. It also means more prosperous communities, because unionized workers spend most, or all, of their paycheques close to home.
Our union voice is needed more now than ever.
The McNeil government is making cuts to important public services. Like long-term care and home care. They’re even suggesting we let go of our public assets, after their failed P3 school deals.
Our members will continue fighting to stop these cuts to public services. For us, it truly is a labour of love and it’s what motivates us to march in the streets and celebrate in the parks, playgrounds and community spaces across the province this weekend.
On behalf of the members of CUPE Nova Scotia, I’d like to wish everyone a safe and happy Labour Day!
Please bring your family and join us at events being held on Monday, September 5!
Amherst at Victoria Square, Noon to 4 pm
Bridgewater at Ship Yards Landing, 1 to 4 pm
Kentville at Memorial Park, 11 am to 2 pm
Port Hawkesbury at the Unifor Hall, 323 Reeves Street, 2 to 3 pm
Sydney at Open Hearth Park, Noon to 2 pm
Yarmouth at Frost Park on Main Street, 11 am to 2 pm
Halifax for a Labour Day March, meeting at Victoria Park at 10:30 am. The march will be followed by a BBQ at the South Commons Triangle (corner of Spring Garden and South Park Street)