Halifax—The Nova Scotia legislature will reconvene on Friday for the introduction of legislation to deal with the home support workers’ strike that is set to begin on Friday. While we don’t have the details of the legislation, we want to caution against interfering in the collective bargaining process in this way.
The legislation will impose a so-called “essential services” provision that, to all intents and purposes, amounts to removing these workers’ right to strike. If enough employees are forced to work, then a strike is rendered meaningless.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-NS has published several reports about the importance of free and fair collective bargaining that must include the right to strike.
These reports can be found here:
- A Tale of two Provinces: Alberta and Nova Scotia argues that strikes happen whether they are legal or not, and, like in Alberta, when they are made illegal they often grow in frequency.
- Health Care Strikes: Pulling the Red Chord argues that if politicians and health care administrators insist on running a system so low on resources that it cannot handle any labour disputes, then the ability of workers to strike, to pull the red cord as it were, is an essential system mechanism to ensure quality of care in the long run.
- Is Compulsory Arbitration a Good Substitute for the Right to Strike in Health Care deals with several of the most intractable problems in health care collective bargaining that make withdrawal of the right to strike especially harmful to the health care system.