Unifor activists joined trade unionists from across Nova Scotia as they gathered for the N.S. Federation of Labour’s 49th convention in Halifax last week.
"Unifor has proven we are organized and our members are mobilized. We are making a difference for all workers because of our work with our sister unions in communities across the province,” said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director.
The convention was a demonstration of growing union solidarity against the provincial government.
"The only positive thing McNeil has done for workers is to bring even stronger solidarity in the Labour movement," said Linda MacNeil, Atlantic Area Director who was re-elected as Vice President-at-Large on the federation’s board.
“Our union stands united in a campaign against the McNeil Liberal government's attack on collective bargaining, workers’ rights and health care. And we are working together to fight back,” said MacNeil.
2017 has been a difficult year for labour in the province as several controversial bills have been passed by the N.S. Liberals that have frozen wages, stripped away workers’ rights, and forced the Nova Scotia Council of Healthcare Unions to negotiate a single collective agreement for several unions.
Discussion about the need for a fair livable minimum wage dominated the convention, as all unions offered support for the #15andFairness campaign, which calls for a higher minimum wage.
“We need to end precarious work as too many Nova Scotian’s are earning less than $15 an hour, in part-time jobs, and they don’t get treated very well,” said Danny Cavanagh, President of the NSFL.
The federation’s membership has grown by 13 thousand this year, with an influx of paramedics and teachers.
The Nova Scotia Teachers Union accounted for 11 thousand new members after they voted 77 % in support of joining the fed, citing support they received after the province legislated a contract on them last year.
“Together we’re stronger and every union is facing the same issues with this government,” said Liette Doucet, NSTU president.
The convention included a woman’s march and a rally, which demonstration growing solidarity and was attended by Tammy Martin, NDP MLA for Cape Breton Centre.
Other Unifor activists who were elected to positions with the Nova Scotia Federation of labour include:
Matt Blois (local 2215 IMP)
Angela Downey (Local 4606)
Lucinda MacDonald (Local 4606)
Jennifer Benoit (Local 2107)
David Ladouceur (Local 1)
Larry Wark, retiree rep
Joyclin Coates, retiree rep