The province’s registered nurses union has reached a tentative agreement in contract negotiations with the provincial government and its four regional health authorities.
The tentative agreement, which the 5,200-member union still has to vote to accept, includes a number of improvements for registered nurses, patients and the health care system including a core staffing review in select areas to be conducted to assess the workload of registered nurses; the creation of 35 additional permanent float positions; an extension of maternity/adoption/parental leave and select benefits from 52 weeks to 78 weeks; and no layoffs to help the province achieve expenditure reductions during the life of the agreement.
It also includes strengthened professional practice language and a forum through the Office of the Status of Women to discuss workplace violence prevention in health care.
“These are the priorities our negotiating team brought to the table and fought hard for in a tough economic environment,” Debbie Forward, president of Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland and Labrador (RNU), stated in a release.
“The result is the best agreement possible and I believe that when members have a chance to review the agreement details they will be prepared to accept.”
The province, in its announcement of an agreement, stated it has had considerable success in collective bargaining over the past 12 months, reaching 25 ratified collective agreements in addition to this tentative agreement.
In April and October 2018 the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) ratified 16 collective agreements, while in December 2018 the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) ratified seven collective agreements. In January 2019 government reached a ratified collective agreement with the Association of Allied Health Professionals (AAHP), while on March 4 the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association (NLTA) ratified its collective agreement.