Wednesday, June 27, 2001 (Fredericton) The New Brunswick Council of Nursing Home Unions (NBCNHU), representing 2,500 CUPE members across the province, has walked away from conciliation talks, citing a complete lack of movement by the employer.
We had to do something to move the process along. This provinces nursing homes are chronically and seriously understaffed. Real wages have declined as workload levels are spiralling out of control, says CUPE Nursing Homes Coordinator Gordon Black. Nursing home operators dont seem to believe that quality of care is an important issue. Our members certainly do.
The NBCNHU has called for an emergency meeting of the presidents of all 35 Locals for July 30, after which a strike vote has been set for August 8.
We know we have the respect of nursing home residents and their families, says NBCNHU President Michel Boudreau. They know how hard we work to care for their loved ones. Unfortunately, nursing home operators refuse to acknowledge the toll that increased workload and fewer staff have on the health of nursing home workers and the people we care for. Providing the barest minimum of care is becoming a struggle.
New Brunswicks nursing home workers have been without a contract since October 16, 2000.
We are prepared to talk if the employers and the province come up with a reasonable offer. However, at this point it feels like we are wasting our time, continues Michel Boudreau. We chose to work in nursing home because we care about the work that we do. It is much more than a job to us. But we feel tremendous frustration when we dont have time to provide the care, attention and human contact that nursing home residents deserve.
The NBCNHU has been negotiating with the private employers who run the nursing homes. However, the province provides the funding and bears the ultimate responsibility for ensuring quality of care.
Workload levels are causing injury and illness, yet the employer penalizes our members who get sick. The needs of our residents grow, yet we always work short-staffed. Enough is enough. Premier Lord, you claim to care about health care. Its time to put your money where your mouth is, concludes Gordon Black.
The NBCNHU represents the people who feed, bathe, comfort and care for the residents of nursing homes. They also change the beds, clean the rooms, prepare the food, ensure there are clean linens and that everyone has clean clothes. In addition, they are the maintenance, activity, clerical and security workers. They fight to keep the home in nursing home.
For more information:
Michel Boudreau, President, NBCNHU, (506) 381-7490 (cell)
Gordon Black, CUPE Nursing Homes Coordinator, (506) 461-4829 (cell)
Laurie Kingston, CUPE Communications, (613) 266-1415 (cell)