“Government talks about job creation as a priority, but when it has the chance to protect the jobs of New Brunswick workers, they side with business.” — Susie Proulx-Daigle, NBU President
Fredericton (20 March 2017) — The New Brunswick government recently decided to place the needs of business above the rights and jobs of New Brunswickers.
The New Brunswick Union (NBU/NUPGE) recently organized and initiated the collective bargaining process for employees of Mount St. Joseph and Miramichi Senior Citizens Home who were previously not in a bargaining unit.
With a new 240-bed nursing home on the horizon in Miramichi — which will replace Mount St. Joseph and Miramichi Senior Citizens Home — the NBU/NUPGE sought to have the newly unionized groups receive the same protections as their colleagues under the terms of the Request for Proposals issued for the new centre.
In 2016, New Brunswick government promised collective agreements would be respected
In June 2016, government committed to protect the terms of employment of all existing unionized employees. This meant whoever won the contract for the new home would have to respect the existing contract and unionized status of the employees.
The newly organized groups came after the original Request for Proposals was issued, and the NBU/NUPGE was seeking the same protections for those members as their colleagues.
In a letter from Lisa Harris, Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care, she states, "Government does not intend to extend this commitment to the two bargaining units formed in January 2017The commitment made by Government applies only to those unionized employees who were certified in June 2016 when the commitment was made. Thus, there will be no change to the conditions of the Request for Proposal #2596014-A17 for the nursing home beds in Miramichi."
Government wants 2-tier system
The winning proponent of the RFP has not been selected, and the RFP could have been amended. Instead, a group of workers have been singled out amongst their colleagues and a two-2 system created.
“This is a very disappointing position for government to take,” said Susie Proulx-Daigle, NBU President. “Government talks about job creation as a priority, but when it has the chance to protect the jobs of New Brunswick workers, they side with business.”
“It's an unfortunate situation which has made the lives of several people uncertain in terms of their employment and financial stability. Another concern is the letter from the Minister contained no reason for their decision. No explanation was given.”
The NBU/NUPGE feels this decision by the provincial government lacks fairness, accountability and transparency. Government is siding with a yet-to-be-named for-profit corporation over hard-working people of Miramichi with families to support. The NBU/NUPGE will continue to advocate and work on behalf of these employees until an equitable solution is found.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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