Unions argue against N.S. law to cut bargaining units for health workers

HALIFAX – Public sector unions in Nova Scotia are telling an arbitrator that a provincial law that shrinks the number of bargaining units for health-care workers is unconstitutional.

Susan Coen, a lawyer for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, says the law breaks charter rights that guarantee the right to association.

The Health Authorities Act merges the number of health districts from 10 to two by April 1.

It also created an arbitration process to reduce the number of bargaining units in the province from 50 to four.

Patrick Saulnier, a lawyer for the health authorities, says arbitrator James Dorsey’s job is to interpret and apply the government’s new bill.

Dorsey previously ruled in a preliminary decision that he may balance constitutional arguments against some provisions of the legislation.

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