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If you want paid sick days you better join a union, says Premier McNeil

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Premier Stephen McNeil seemingly called on workers looking for paid sick leave to join a union and engage in the collective bargaining process.  

The premier explained the benefits of unionization at yesterday’s COVID-19 press conference after All Nova Scotia journalist Lyndsay Armstrong asked the premier to respond to a federal proposal that would guarantee 10 days of paid sick leave a year for every worker in Canada.

“I have been very clear, that’s a collective bargaining process at the bargaining table. As you know, a lot of people here already have paid sick days in the public sector,” the premier said.

“I believe the national government can through its unemployment insurance program ensure if someone needs to be tested for Covid to give them that test period whether it is 3 to 4 days, and wait for results to come back. That would be a good first step, as both private and public entities negotiate the sick benefit through the collective bargaining process.”

Paid sick days are seen as a way to ensure that precarious and low paid workers don’t spread the virus by reporting for work when sick, just because they have bills to pay and can’t afford to lose the hours. 

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia’s labour standard, considered one of the weakest in Canada, only provides for 3 days of unpaid sick leave per year.

There is a flaw in the premier’s response. In 2016 only 30 % of the Nova Scotia workforce was unionized, Statistics Canada reports. In the private sector that number is only 12%. 

Oh, make that two flaws. The premier is also famous for removing the right to strike and impose contracts on many of its workers.

You can contact the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour to find out how to go about forming or joining a union. Or check out Unions are Essential, another great website to explore.

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  1. Truely a third world country on the earth coast with third world leadership

    Shocking to see as a new comer

  2. I work for a union in Ontario. I only get 3 unpaid sick days per year. Thanks Liberal Government.

  3. Strange he’s so eager to push you in that direction when he tries to take away our bargaining rights by trying to take away our right to strike and legislates us back to work. But again showing his true colors by showing his government isn’t fair.
    Remember covid 19 next election when home cares were the ones devastated the most because of the state of them. That happened on his watch. Remember he said there is nothing wrong with our health care. See how long it takes you to have your surgeries now. Time for a fair government.

  4. I am in a union, however unless I’m in a full-time, long-term or permanent position there is no paid sick time.

  5. Mr. McNeil. you can give our money away to bay ferries and the Irving’s, but when it comes to looking after your own, you run and hide, next election you will see what we think of you.

  6. He, and the other MLAs, get sick days. His senior managers and deputy ministers get sick days but they are in a union.

  7. I`m a Cape Bretoner living in B.C. Am self -employed, but if I don`t work, I don`t get paid. >> My wife`s employer provides 8 sick days a year. She has not taken any sick day in 20 years. However, 3 of her co-workers USE ALL of their `sick days` bcuz they don`t want to waste them. That`s not right!

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