Privatization, equality rights, and good jobs are front-and-centre for NBU/NUPGE this year.
Fredericton (24 Jan. 2018) — Opportunities to make positive changes to the province will be plentiful in 2018 for the New Brunswick Union (NBU/NUPGE) and its members, says Susie Proulx-Daigle, NBU President.
3 major issues for NBU/NUPGE members to focus on
In starting off the new year, members of the NBU/NUPGE have identified 3 issues as important for the union to take on, in addition to continuing work on issues the union has already been working on.
Medavie taking over the management of the Extra-Mural program
Despite the government signing a deal with Medavie, a private company, to manage the Extra-Mural and Tele-Care programs, NBU/NUPGE remains committed to opposing this change. Many groups throughout the province have voiced concerns about the deal and how it will impact service.
"We know the health care professionals who work in these programs will continue to provide excellent care," said Proulx-Daigle. "The concern lies with how Medavie will manage it and if it will reduce the level of service to New Brunswickers who rely on Extra-Mural care, in order to reach its performance-based goals which result in bonuses."
Working to keep paid plasma out of province
The NBU/NUPGE and its partners will continue the fight against paid plasma operations in New Brunswick. Despite warnings from Canadian Blood Services, an exposé from Maclean's magazine, and warnings from physicians, the New Brunswick government welcomed the private company with open arms.
New Brunswick is one of only 2 in the country in which the private company — Canadian Plasma Resources — operates. In fact, its New Brunswick location is in the riding of Ginette Petitpas Taylor, the federal Health Minister. "I've spoken with the minister about the clinic before it opened, but attempts to follow up with the minister over the past year have been ignored," says Proulx-Daigle.
A recent opinion editorial in the Toronto Star from Dr. Danyaal Raza, the chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, calls into question the work being done by Health Canada, the federal institution who gave the company its license in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan.
"[W]hat is going on at Health Canada and to who do they consider themselves accountable? As the public regulator responsible for the nation’s health, it is the well-being of Canadians that should come first, not the bottom-line of private enterprise," Raza wrote.
Advocating for domestic violence leave legislation
NBU/NUPGE will also be working on bringing forward domestic violence leave legislation. Last year, the NBU/NUPGE formed a coalition of community partners to advocate on behalf of this bill. It would provide victims of domestic violence with paid leave from work and make sure they could not lose their job for accessing this leave.
"I'm confident this will be brought forward for a vote in the legislature this year," says Proulx-Daigle. "When it does, we encourage not only our members, but everyone who believes this is a necessary piece of legislation to contact their MLA and encourage them to vote in favour."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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