Dear NAPE member,
I hope you all had a wonderful summer and got a much-needed opportunity to spend quality time with your families and friends.
We have been busy this summer working on moving the public sector bargaining process forward.
This update, our tenth in an ongoing series, will provide information about our efforts and developments over the summer months.
New Minister of Finance
As you are probably aware, Cathy Bennett resigned her position as Minister of Finance at the end of July. Ms. Bennett was replaced by Tom Osborne.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how frustrating public sector collective bargaining has been over the past year.
Since taking over as Finance Minister we have heard Minister Osborne say some encouraging things about collective bargaining – a “new slate” and “starting fresh with negotiations and how we deal with unions” is certainly welcomed by our union given how things have been going thus far. Since Minister Osborne has taken over his new role we have also seen the end of McInnes Cooper as the external law firm hired by the government to take us on at the bargaining table.
These are positive developments.
We are cautiously optimistic that this change in leadership will breathe new life into public sector collective bargaining going forward.
Meeting with Minister Osborne
On that note, myself and NAPE President Jerry Earle met with Minister Osborne on Thursday, August 10 to discuss a number of matters, the foremost of which was collective bargaining.
Overall, it was a very positive meeting – it is clear from the tone and direction of the discussion that the new Minister is committed to giving public sector bargaining a fair shot at the table.
At that meeting, we resolved to bring the bargaining teams back to the table starting after Labour Day weekend. Dates have now been set and are as follows:
Week of September 11:
- Hospital Support Staff
- Health Professionals
- Maintenance & Operational Services (MOS)
- General Service
Week of September 18:
- Marine Services
Week of September 25:
- Air Services
- Workplace NL
- School Boards
- Lab & X-Ray
Week of October 2:
- Student Assistants
- CNA Support
Week of October 9:
- Group Homes
We informed the Minister that while we are more than willing to get back to the table to negotiate openly, honestly and fairly, we expect the same from his bargaining teams – not what has been going on for the past year. The Minister agreed with this sentiment.
At this stage, I thought it was important to give you as much information as I am able.
This is a new phase in public sector collective bargaining and we will do everything in our power to seize the opportunity presented to us.
We are hopeful that Minister Osborne’s words and tone will translate into meaningful bargaining and progress at the table. We will know for sure when our first groups meet next week. Our teams are very much looking forward to having an opportunity to actually bargain at the table. We are committed to reaching a deal – if we are able – at the table.
We will continue to update the members on bargaining to the extent that we are able, throughout the process. Updates will be sent to Local Officers and Shop Stewards for distribution, posted on the NAPE website, and on Facebook.
Ed Hogan, Senior Negotiator on behalf of the
Bargaining Oversight Committee