June 17, 2002 (Fredericton) - The members of CUPE Local 1418 have given their leadership a huge vote of confidence and a strong strike mandate. Of those who voted - and more than 95 per cent of them did - 93% voted in favour of a strike.
“Our members have told us that they are fed up with this government’s attitude towards us and towards the people with whom we work,” said Anne Hogan, President of Local 1418, which represents social workers and other front-line professionals.
Chronic staff shortages have created a workload crisis for the local, which includes social workers and other front line professionals. Employees that are off sick, on training or holidays, even sometimes on longer leaves, are not replaced. The result is that already overburdened professionals are doing the work of two or even three people.
“As workers, we find ourselves frustrated and overwhelmed on a daily basis,” said Anne Hogan. “It’s like playing a game of Russian Roulette, having to ask ‘what standards do I meet today?’ Or even worse, ‘who is most at risk?’”
Despite the strong strike mandate, CUPE 1418 is still committed to the process of negotiations. New dates for negotiations have been set for June 18, 19 and 20.
“We don’t want a strike. We do, however, want respect, decent wages and a fair contract for our members. We also want and deserve the kind of working conditions that enable us to do our jobs well and to provide the services needed by the people of New Brunswick,” said Anne Hogan. “There are children who continue to be hungry, families that are not receiving the quality of service they deserve and government employees who are disrespected on a daily basis.”
Local 1418 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees represents 13 groups of professionals, including social workers, case managers, probation officers, psychometrists, clinical psychologists, employment counsellors, managers and supervisors, nutritionists, occupational therapists, family court mediators, human rights officers, recreation and culture program officers, recreation leaders and therapists.
At the annual convention of CUPE NB on June 7, members voted to support Local 1418, should a strike become necessary. This support could include a general strike of all CUPE members should the Lord Government pass back-to-work legislation, in order to impose a contract.
For more information:
Laurie Kingston, (613) 266-1415 cellular