Monday July 19th, 2021, we held a press conference to remind the public that Premier Blaine Higgs has yet to take any meaningful action to settle collective agreements with over 22 000 CUPE members in our province.
|Brothers, sisters, friends,
CUPE NB, which represents more than 28,000 workers in New Brunswick, held a PRESS CONFERENCE (CLICK HERE) today. The union announced that Premier Blaine Higgs has yet to take meaningful steps to negotiate fair deals with more than 22,000 CUPE members.
50 days have passed since notice was given to the Premier to fix the labour crisis that he and his MLAs created. Sadly, Higgs is still backing us workers into a corner. If nothing is done within the next 50 days to address the labour crisis in a fair and respectful way, a province wide strike vote will be held.
Our Maritime Regional Director Sandy Harding and I met with Premier Higgs in July. He would not commit to resolving the recruitment and retention crisis in public services, nor recognize that fair wages or compensation is part of the solution,. We were professional, respectful, polite, and made it very clear to him. We said workers are not being greedy or irresponsible, they worked through the pandemic and most have not had a fair wage increase in many years. We advised Higgs that zeroes are not acceptable, front-line heroes deserve much better.
Last week, the 10 500 members of CUPE Local 1252 tried to get a fair deal through conciliation. It was clear the province’s negotiators were not interested in anything else but a wage freeze. Conciliation is done, a deadlock is to be declared in the coming days.
Higgs has until Labour Day to resolve the unsettled contracts and negotiate fair wages for the 22,000 public sector CUPE members stuck in bargaining. Over 19,000 public sector CUPE members will be in a deadlock in the immediate future or within days and close to another 2,800 may soon be joining them.
PEI and Nova Scotia’s governments were able to settle contracts with workers without anybody going on strike. We hope our Premier too can settle deals without pushing anyone to go on strike. However, if he does leaves us no other choice, we must be prepared for province-wide action.