Newfoundland and Labrador government paid $40,000 to law firm for less than one month's work

“To put this in perspective, the amount of money spent on crisis communications advice and legal support for public sector negotiations thus far could have been used to fully restore the X-ray services at the hospital in Bonavista." — Jerry Earle, NAPE President

St. John's (25 July 2016) — Records released to the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE/NUPGE) under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA) show that the provincial government has paid out over $40,000 to McInnes Cooper law firm for assistance on public sector bargaining for a little over 3 weeks work in June alone. This brings the total thus far for services rendered to $101,878.52.

Government spends more on consultatants and lawyers than on bargaining

The government has hired the services of McInnes Cooper, a law firm that specializes in labour law, as well as Cathy Dornan, a crisis management and communications specialist to deal with public sector negotiations. The contract means the province is spending $350 or more per hour on the upcoming set of public sector negotiations. This amount is on top of what they are spending on their current staff who normally handles negotiations and communications.

The ATIPP request filed by NAPE/NUPGE shows that the government spent $40,009.40 for services rendered for the period of June 1 to June 24. This amount includes $19,827.85 for the services of Ms. Dornan.

“Four months — over $100,000 and counting,” said NAPE President Jerry Earle. “And we haven’t even met at the bargaining table. This is an absolutely shameful use of the people’s money.”

Money spent on crisis communications and legal fees could have restore health care services in communities

“We will be filing an ATIPP request every month on this matter and will be posting constant updates to the public on how their tax dollars are being wasted in this regard,” said Earle. “To put this in perspective, the amount of money spent on crisis communications advice and legal support for public sector negotiations thus far could have been used to fully restore the X-ray services at the hospital in Bonavista. This money could have been used to keep the Emergency Room fully operational at the clinic in Botwood. The list goes on. Let the MHAs for those districts, the Cabinet, and this Premier explain that to the people of this province; to the families who are suffering as a result.”

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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