Members of NSGEU Local 34, employees of Northwood Homecare, have voted 62 per cent in favour of a new two-year labour agreement.
"We are pleased that members of Local 34 have a new collective agreement with a memorandum of understanding that begins the process of eliminating the mandatory two-hour unpaid availability requirement," says Joan Jessome, president of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union. "There's a lot of work ahead and the employer should understand the membership is determined to see them live up to this agreement and the process it outlines."
The total votes cast were 238, with 148 members voting in favour of the agreement and 90 members voting against.
Jessome says the narrow, 62 per cent approval of the deal attests to how divisive the issue has become among the membership. She says overall the members are pleased, but members didn't walk out of negotiations arm-in-arm because they remain a bit divided on this.
Elimination of the two-hours of unpaid availability will take place over time, starting with a quarter of the membership by mid-November, followed by smaller groups of workers potentially every four weeks.
The new agreement – including the new Memorandum of Agreement – is available to view at www.nsgeu.ca.
The current contract expired March 31, 2010 and the parties have been in negotiations since November 2011. There are approximately 400 members of Local 34 who provide home support services, including assisting about 1,600 clients with such personal care as bathing, dressing, meals and light housekeeping.