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Fredericton:  The members of the New Brunswick Council of Nursing Home Unions (NBCNHU) have ratified a new 4-year collective agreement.

The collective agreement reached last week with our employer, the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes and the Province of New Brunswick, includes significant wage and benefit improvements”, explained Valerie Black, President of the Council.

With this agreement, we are achieving wage parity with the hospital workers who provide similar services in our province.  Some classifications will receive more than a 30% increase, the average wage increase over the life of this contract is 22%’’, added Black.

The campaign put forward by the New Brunswick Council of Nursing Home Unions gave us the result we needed to reach this collective agreement. It turns out that we were able to get even more in this settlement than what we had agreed to in March of 2009, an agreement that the government refused to honor. ”

This contract gives us better job security especially for the Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who could be impacted by a proposed ratio change in the staffing standards which will come when the province increases the staffing to 3.5 hours of care”, explained Valerie Black.

This agreement also improves weekend shift premiums, holiday pay and will allow us to work on wellness and Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

 “We’re pleased that our members finally have a collective agreement,” says Gordon Black, NBCNHU Coordinator.

As far as the provincial government wage restraint policy, it will be addressed in the next round of bargaining. Four years is a long time and many things could change before the next round of bargaining”, concluded Gordon Black.

The NBCNHU represents about 4000 members who work in 46 nursing homes across the province.