PCs pledge to scrap NDP’s job-killing First Contract Arbitration

September 25, 2013 at 10:11 am

Baillie: time to create jobs, not chase them away

HALIFAX, NS – A Progressive Conservative government will scrap the NDP’s job-killing First Contract Arbitration law. The Liberals will not.

Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie renewed his commitment to scrap the NDP’s unfair labour legislation outside Egg Films, a Halifax film production company.

First Contract Arbitration is an anti-employer law passed by the NDP that lets an arbitrator appointed by the government impose a collective agreement on a newly unionized employer, even if the company cannot afford it. The legislation has been called “anti-business” and “totally unnecessary.”

“A PC government is focused on helping small business create jobs. This law chases employers away by giving a third party the power to tell them how to run their business,” Baillie said. 

The McNeil Liberals won’t repeal the one-sided labour law. The Liberals also won’t lower taxes or freeze power rates to help small businesses get ahead. 

Last week, the Nova Scotia Labour Board used this law to impose an expensive first contract on Egg Films. The small, independent film company in Halifax was recently unionized by film and theatre union IATSE, Local 849. The company was ordered to pay its freelance crew wages that even exceeded wage rates in Toronto for similar work.  

“This law makes it difficult for us to operate in Nova Scotia,” said Mike Hachey, co-owner of Egg Films. “It allows a union to present a wage proposal that it knows the employer can’t afford or accept so that they can ask for an agreement to be imposed. That’s what happened to us.”   

Baillie noted that Egg employs creative, highly skilled people who should be encouraged to stay to build a life in our province, not driven away.

During review of first contract at the Legislature’s Law Amendments Committee, major employers such as Michelin, Sobeys and Clearwater joined in opposition to the law, arguing it created an economic disincentive to invest in the province. 

A PC government will help small businesses prosper and create jobs by creating a tax-free zone for small businesses and freezing power rates.