Progress of PEI UPSE Health Collective Bargaining

Posted June 11, 2012

Discussions to determine a collective agreement between PEI UPSE Health bargaining unit and Health PEI have stalled. The two parties bargained for 6 days and had agreement on a number of non-economic issues. Nonetheless, the parties were unable to agree on a wage package and job security. Health PEI representatives made one offer and did not choose to continue to bargain after receiving PEI UPSE's proposal. Health PEI then maintained their original offer.

As a result, Health PEI will pursue 3rd party intervention by applying for conciliation. This move will bring the parties back to the bargaining table and will employ a conciliator from the provincial labour board. If this process does not result in an agreement then the parties will likely resort to the arbitration process.

PEI UPSE President, Shelley Ward, says that "the last collective agreement resulted in PEI UPSE wages becoming reflective of similar health professions in the Atlantic region. What we need to ask is: 'does government want to take a step back and lose health professionals to other provinces?' Government has made efforts in the area of recruitment and retention of health professionals, it would be ill-advised to undo this work. It is possible that government's tough stance on wages could damage health care in the province. Perhaps we may not be able to retain enough health professionals to be able to deliver accredited health services. Islanders could see the number of health services decrease."

The PEI UPSE health bargaining unit is made up of close to 1400 health employees in the public health system including LPNs, RCWs, home support workers, addiction workers, psychologists, speech language pathologists, audiologists, social workers, dietitians and pharmacists.

Please contact Mark Barrett at 892-5335 (or toll-free at 1-800- 897-8773) to arrange an interview.