Did the three three men vying to be Premier of Nova Scotia pass the last Labour Day before the election celebrating workers’ rights, marching in solidarity with nurses, teachers, cleaning crews and coffee shop workers. Or did they take the day off – a victory won for us by the work of the labour movement?
Once upon a time, even American Republicans cheered about their strong ties to organized labour. Now, Liberals in Canada, and of course Tories, shy away from topics ranging from the minimum wage to maternity leave.
On Labour Day, while marching and speaking at a union rally in Halifax, NDP Premier Darrell Dexter announced an important policy plank that will help workers take care of their families – better access to parental leave.
More Nova Scotians will be able to take parental leave knowing their job will be waiting for them when they return. Premier Darrell Dexter announced plans today, Sept. 2, to amend the Labour Standards Code to allow someone employed for six months with an employer to qualify for pregnancy/parental leave.
Jamie Baillie did not hide completely on the one day of the year politicians focus on labour issues. On Twitter he offered this:
Let’s take a moment today to reflect on the valuable contribution the men & women who work hard in all kinds of jobs, make to our economy. Together, we all want a growing economy, safe work conditions, and a shared, prosperous future for all Nova Scotians.
Stephen McNeil was quiet on workers’ issues this year.
We’ve talked about the Liberal Party’s history of labour relations in Nova Scotia. It bears repeating.
The last time the Liberals were in power saw the worst period of labour unrest in Nova Scotia’s recent history.
- Angry nurses suggested wildcat strikes after the Liberal government refused to give the chief negotiator a mandate to resume talks.
- Nova Scotia’s 60,000 public-sector workers said they’d walk off the job if the Liberal government didn’t restore collective bargaining.
- Nova Scotia’s teachers agreed to support the general strike over a 3% rollback in wages and benefits by the Liberals and a three-year salary freeze.
- All police forces in the province outside of Halifax signed on to take part in a wide-scale walkout against the Liberal government.
“Collective bargaining has not been abolished,” Liberal Human Resources Minister Eleanor Norrie said in the legislature at the time. “Collective bargaining has been suspended.”
Nurses, public sector workers, teachers and cops would do well to remember those savage days in Nova Scotia. The Liberals flash left, but turn right, causing quite the spectacular crash.