Warning message

Please note that this page is from our archives. There may be more up-to-date content about this topic on our website. Use our search engine to find out.
FREDERICTON CUPE Local 1252 members are voting on an offer that was negotiated as the government began to ram through legislation that would impose a collective agreement on the 6,000 hospital workers on legal strike.
We met with our presidents yesterday and they have returned to their regions to put the latest government offer to a vote, said Danny Bernatchez, CUPE Local 1252s chief negotiator. The votes must be at strike headquarters by noon tomorrow, March 6.
The offer gives the workers some difficult choices. They can accept 8 per cent over four years for everyone with an additional 4.5 per cent for wage equity. Or, they can return to work and live with the even less appealing conditions that would be imposed. The only other option is to defy the new legislation.

None of us is happy with these choices but the members will decide by a democratic vote, Bernatchez said. The larger trade union movement may also be discussing how it should respond to what some have called the governments dictatorial approach.
The legislation is a blow to free collective bargaining which is a cornerstone of democracy, he added. Premier Bernard Lord has taken a road that will lead to even more labour unrest in an already unhealthy labour relations climate.
CUPE Local 1252 had expected to be legislated back to work because it knew hospitals could not run without the 2,500 workers designated non-essential. But we never expected it less than 12 hours after the strike began, Bernatchez said. And we certainly didnt expect the government to force us to accept an agreement.
The bill could be passed by tomorrow. It would then have to be proclaimed to become law.
News conference: 10:30a.m., Monday, March 5, Legislative Press Gallery
Contact: Danny Bernatchez, CUPE National Representative, (506) 863-5851.