April 2023 NSFL President’s Report

April 30, 2023

I hope you’re doing well. Below is my report for April 2023, work and activity for you. I want to participate in your local union meetings and events at your invitation to provide you and your members with information about our work. Working together is essential, so please let us know if you need us to do anything to help with your union’s work.

Our contact list is growing, and I ask that you get just one union member or interested worker to sign up for our updates. Please have them sign up at our website, and please share the link with your co-workers and members. Click here

It’s been busy, and here are a few things we accomplished. I met with folks from the paramedics union leadership, and our Finance Committee met. I met and presented to the NSGEU board meeting about the work the NSFL is doing, and I would be happy to attend your meetings anytime.

I was in Yarmouth and participated in the CUPE Long Term Care rally in front of Zacks Churchhills office. The workers represented by the Long Term Care and Community Services Coordinating Committee in CUPE gathered to spread awareness and gain support for their continued fight for a fair deal that includes competitive wages, a defined pension, and protections against workplace violence.

The UFCW, the union representing 80 food service, housekeeping and maintenance workers at the Doubletree by Hilton hotel in Dartmouth, N.S., says they were shocked by the move to turn the hotel into a shelter, with many members will lose their jobs, some of them have 41, 42 years of service.

I attended the NSGEU anniversary event and had cake as they celebrated their 65th Birthday celebration. Read more here: https://nslabour.ca/65th-birthday-celebration-nsgeu/

The Province announced it would provide several NSGEU bargaining units (NSH Health Care, NSLC and NSCC) with an extra 1 percent wage increase outside of bargaining. That’s because these bargaining units settled agreements early in the bargaining cycle and before the Civil Service achieved a 1 percent higher settlement in arbitration. Following the Province’s announcement, the NSGEU and IAMAW began discussing extending the same 1 percent increase to their staff in local 2797. The NSGEU has approved a 1 percent wage increase to the NSGEU/IAMAW staff collective agreement. That increase will apply retroactively to January 1, 2023. 

The NSFL held officers and full council meetings during the month, which I participated in, and I attended a meeting with the NDP Labor Committee, which also had a meeting. I did a mining meeting with folks at the Occupational Safety branch and expressed our concerns at Donkin Mine and safety.  

The Nova Scotia School Board Council of Unions represents approximately 5,400 workers throughout the Province. They include bus drivers, cleaners, maintenance staff, educational program assistants, early childhood educators, and other roles at seven regional centres for education and the Conseil Scolaire Acadien provincial board. They went on a strike-averting campaign during the month. We wrote an open letter to the Minister supporting CUPE School Board Workers. Please read it here: https://nslabour.ca/open-letter-supporting-cupe-school-board-workers-by-nsfl-president-danny-cavanagh/

I attended a rally of the CUPE school board members at the Canso CauseWay on a Saturday and attended and spoke at a group gathering after the rally at the UNIFOR office that day. They reached a tentative agreement, and all eight locals voted on it, with seven accepting the contract and one local 5047 in HRM going on strike. 

This month, the Senate passed a bill to protect workers’ pensions. The Congress and our unions put a lot of work and effort into this campaign, and we were indeed happy to see legislation passed that would protect workers.

I participated with our Federations of Labor in a meeting with the CLC officers. The federations across the country meet with the officers to get an update about what’s happening in British Columbia and the nurse’s situation. The N.S. Action Collision for Community Well-Being held a board meeting, and I spoke Sunday at the N.S. teachers union annual council meeting. This was a very well-attended convention for the teachers, and I always appreciate the opportunity to join them for a couple of days. I participated in an evening session with the NDP officers. I attended the retiree’s group meeting via Zoom. I had a meeting with the CCPA. 

The public service alliance of Canada and its federal workers were on strike during the month. We also wrote a piece to support those workers. You can read that here. The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour stands firmly in solidarity with the Public Service Alliance: https://nslabour.ca/the-nsfl-stands-in-solidarity-with-the-public-service-alliance-of-canada/

Together we remembered the mass murders that happened to N.S. back in 2020, and you can read our statement here three years after the devastating events of April 18 and 19, 2020, https://nslabour.ca/nova-scotia-remembers/

Of course, the National Day of Mourning was held on April 28, and we had an event at Providence House. We are happy to report that officers were in from the Canadian Labour Congress for a second year and spoke. Because I was away on vacation, our first vice president, Sandra Mullen, represented the Federation of Labour, and our treasurer Hugh Gillis was the master of ceremonies. The event was very well attended and went off without a hitch. I know several labour councils held events around the Province, and from everything I’ve heard, each of those was well attended with lots of participation.

The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour (NSFL) collaborates with the Province and other organizations to raise awareness and encourage participation in the Day of Mourning. The following video was produced to honour the memory of Ron Beck, who passed away on April 25, 2004.

Ron Beck died while at work. His untimely death shook his family to its core and profoundly impacted every generation of his family for years to come. The video serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of workplace safety and the devastating impact of workplace injuries and fatalities on families and loved ones. By sharing this video, https://youtu.be/1OVyZrMfvzE, the NSFL hopes to raise awareness and encourage workers and employers to prioritize safety in the workplace. https://nslabour.ca/ron-becks-story-day-of-mourning/

Our office is located in Halifax on the land of the Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. The Indigenous peoples have inhabited these lands from the beginning, and we should each do what we can to acknowledge our presence in these territories. We must also recognize our responsibility as settlers in meeting the recommendations and our inherent obligations to move forward with truth and reconciliation.

We are Nova Scotia’s provincial labour organization representing some 70,000 unionized workers in our Province, founded in 1956.

Remember that together we are stronger. Please stay safe, everyone. —

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