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On September 9, presidents of CUPE locals from across New Brunswick took to the streets of Fredericton to support CUPE 1418, on strike since September 4. CUPE 1418 represents 13 groups of front-line social service workers.

“The workers in Local 1418 are some of the most dedicated and caring professionals I know,” says local president Anne Hogan. “We provide services to children and adults in need of protection. We counsel and teach children and parents how to break the cycle of poverty and improve the quality of their lives. We provide employment counseling. We provide mediation to couples who are experiencing separation and divorce. We counsel and provide services to youth who become involved with the criminal justice system. We provide services to children and adults with serious mental health issues. In short, we are responsible to protect society’s most vulnerable people.”

Local presidents were in town for a special meeting of CUPE NB, but took time to join hundreds of 1418 members in a march from the provincial legislature to the office of Conservative MLA and cabinet minister Brad Green.

Local 1418 has been without a contract since August 2000.

All local presidents attended the September 9th meeting to mobilize their members to participate in regional meetings throughout the province in preparation for a general strike if Local 1418 were legislated back to work with a forced contract.

“Our members did not make the decision to strike lightly, but we’re prepared to stay out for as long as it takes to get a fair contract – one that includes a wage increase for all our members and concrete measures to address recruitment and retention. Above all we need a contract that enables us to provide the quality of services that we feel our clients deserve,” says Hogan.

CUPE 1418 represents social workers, case managers, probation officers, psychometrists, clinical psychologists, employment counselors, nutritionists, occupational therapists, family court mediators, human rights officers, recreation and culture program officers, recreation leaders and therapists, and managers and supervisors.