The Lead Negotiator for CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador, Ed White, says he is extremely disappointed that Finance Minister Tom Osborne would imply that CUPE is attempting to influence another union’s ratification process.

“Our communications about our intent to bargain did not just come out of the blue,” White says. “Government presented us with a copy of NAPE’s tentative agreement on December 23, and after consulting our members, we formally notified Government on January 7 that we would not be extending our collective agreements. Our members have clearly instructed us that they wish to sit down and bargain with their individual employers.”

White says that the timing of CUPE’s notice to bargain has nothing to do with NAPE’s ratification vote, but rather to do with government offices and the CUPE office being closed by the storm and the State of Emergency.

“It was important that we serve notice to bargain as early as possible, and that happened to be early this week,” White says. “It is disturbing that the Minister would imply that our communications with government and our members have been anything less than ethical.”

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador President Sherry Hillier adds: “A union is responsible for representing its members to the best of its ability. We will do that, and we will not apologize for that.”