The interim agreement extends the union`s current collective agreement for a further two years and remains unchanged, with the exception of the wage increase and changes to pension benefits. A provisional agreement on the extension of the contract until 30 June 2022 was reached last month. At the time, UNN President Debbie Forward said the extended deal was the « best option » for nurses in the face of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In April and October 2018, the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (PANE) ratified 16 collective agreements, while in December 2018, the Canadian Public Employment Union (CUPE) ratified seven collective agreements. In January 2019, the government secured a ratified collective agreement with the Allied Health Professionals Association (AAHP), while the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers` Association (NLTA) ratified its collective agreement on March 4. In an email to CBC News, the union said that starting March 31, current employees, who qualify for group insurance in retirement, will continue to share the cost of 50-50 premiums. When it`s retirement time, new nurses hired after March 31 pay 60 per cent of the premiums, while the employer pays the other 40. In announcing an agreement, the province said it has achieved significant results in collective bargaining over the past 12 months and has achieved 25 ratified collective agreements in addition to this interim agreement. « We believe this agreement is the best option for our members and we recommend accepting it, » Forward said. « Our nurses are always there and provide care and compassion when we need it most. We see it first-hand during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. « The result is the best deal possible, and I think if members have the opportunity to check the details of the deal, they will be willing to accept it. » The provincial government and the Registered Nurses` Union of Newfoundland and Labrador have reached an interim agreement on contract renewal. Union president Debbie Forward said she was pleased with the preliminary agreement.
The preliminary agreement, the adoption of which has yet to be voted on by the 5,200-member union, contains a number of improvements for registered nurses, patients and the health system, including a substantive assessment of staff in certain areas, which will be carried out to assess the workload of registered nurses; the creation of 35 additional permanent float positions; the extension of maternity/adoption/parental leave and the choice of benefits from 52 weeks to 78 weeks; not layoffs to help the province reduce spending over the life of the agreement. « The renewal of this agreement supports unions, employers and workers. » Health Minister John Haggie said he looks forward to continuing to work with the nurses union to improve the health care system in Newfoundland and Labrador. . . .