Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Union Launches Court Challenge Against NS Government

The Nova Scotia government is being sued by the province's Government and General Employees Union. The NSGEU lawsuit filed in supreme court is aimed at the Essential Home-Support Services Act, passed earlier this spring by the McNeil government. According to union president Joan Jessome, the law violates the right to collective bargaining for home-support workers. She says it also discriminates against women, 90 percent of whom are involved in home-support.

The McNeil government claims the law requires both sides in a dispute to determine who is an essential worker before a strike can happen. However, it says it does not take away the right to strike. Meanwhile, the NSGEU isn’t the only union launching a legal challenge on essential services legislation. Last Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada began hearing a Charter challenge launched by the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, which argues that essential services legislation and changes made to the Trade Union Act in their province are inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This Supreme Court case and ruling will have a significant impact on the legal challenge the NSGEU has launched in Nova Scotia.