Message from the Executive DirectorDecember 20, 2023
It’s been an interesting and productive year for RNU.
A key item this year is the successful negotiation and ratification of a new collective agreement for RNs and NPs employed with NLHS.
This new 4-year agreement saw salary increases of between 8.8% and 10.7% on date of signing due to every member making a two-step jump in their salary. While the role out of these immediate benefits took much longer than we hoped, I am happy to confirm that the new salary scales have been implemented by NLHS, Core Government (Health and Community Services), and the College of the North Atlantic.
Retroactivity payments for the general economic increases (2% per year for the life of the contract) are being implemented in December 2023.
Permanent Full-Time (PFT) Incentive Pilot Project
Another key gain was the permanent full-time incentive pilot program. Effective date of signing and for the life of this collective agreement, employees who currently hold or accept a full-time permanent position shall receive five thousand dollars ($5000.00) annually to be paid on a bi-weekly basis for each bi-weekly pay period that an employee works full-time hours.
For the first time ever RNU has been able to negotiate a separate salary grid for NPs. This meant that NPs realized an immediate increase in salary of 10.7%.
At the end of summer, we requested an occupational review for NPs so they could have access to the top two steps in their salary grid. This request was denied by the government. However, the government is supporting a joint JES submission between RNU and NLHS.
We have had our second meeting with the government and NLHS to determine the steps to move forward. We have also met with our NPs asking for their input and participation in this process.
During Nurse Practitioners’ Week in November, RNU highlighted the value that NPs bring to the public healthcare system with a video on social media. You can see this video here:
Provincial Nursing Network (PPN)
As per the collective agreement, the parties agree to the creation of a Provincial Nursing Network including RNs, Employers, Educators, regulatory bodies, unions, and other organizations as deemed necessary. The mandate shall include, amongst other mutually agreed items, Recruitment and Retention.
During the last Senior Joint Quality Work Life committee meeting, it was communicated that Health and Community Services have already started work on the Terms of Reference (TOR) and mandate. At the end of November, Health and Community Services have advised that the TOR is finalized. A kickoff meeting for all parties involved is planned for January.
Canadian Blood Services
Collective bargaining began at the end of November. As the interim Executive Director, I am the Chief Negotiator. Randy Clarke, LRO, is assisting with negotiations.
We have met with the employer to confirm expectations moving forward and to confirm who is on our negotiating team.
After our next meeting with the membership at Canadian Blood Services, we will be finalizing our opening package and exchange them with the employer. Collective bargaining will occur January 9-11, 2024.
Your newly elected Board met together for orientation during the week of December 4-8. I am looking forward to working with the new members and the incumbents who are returning for the next term. It was a busy week with lots to review and discuss.
I also want to acknowledge and thank outgoing Board members for their work on behalf of RNU.
We are proud of the accomplishments and gains we have made in the last year. Your union is strong, and we have a competent, professional team at RNU Head Office working diligently on your behalf. I am excited for the New Year and for what the future holds for us.
David Hammond, CD BBA MER CPHR
Executive Director (interim)