Collective Agreement Bargaining Processes and Procedures

Collective bargaining is the process in which a Union’s Board, staff and member representatives negotiate contracts with employers to determine the terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, safety policies, ways to balance work and family, and more. 

Prior to collective bargaining, the NSNU invites members to participate in bargaining surveys, specific to each sector. The survey results are discussed by the Board of Directors and the bargaining teams (acute care, long term care and community care). Based on the priorities of the members identified in the survey, and other forms of feedback, proposals are determined which are then presented to the employer prior to the onset of negotiations. The employer(s) also presents their proposal.

When a Union bargaining team reaches a tentative agreement with an employer, the agreement is voted on by NSNU sector-specific members. A majority vote is needed to ratify a tentative agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, or is voted down, the union can pursue conciliation and/or arbitration to resolve unsettled matters.

The NSNU bargains within the Council of Nursing Unions to reach agreements with our acute care employers, the IWK and Nova Scotia Health. Typically, acute care bargaining takes place first following the expiration of the contract(s), and sets the pattern for the other tables – long term care and community care.


CFNU Canadian Labour Congress