Nursing home workers in New Brunswick have been without a negotiated contract since 2016. Staff recruitment and retention issues are rampant, the acuity of residents is increasing and resources in the sector are depleted. There are more than 350 unfilled positions in the sector.

Nursing home workers care for their residents like they care for their own families. But their poor working conditions have a direct impact on those residents. When the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes refused to table real wage increases, workers were forced to take a strike vote. Fair wages are the only solution for the recruitment and retention issues in all of New Brunswick’s nursing homes.

Nursing home workers know that the Government of New Brunswick’s Department of Social Development and the Treasury Board hold the purse strings. Not only that, with the other hand the Department used its legislative pen to interfere with nursing home workers’ right to strike. CUPE members in the New Brunswick Nursing Home Council gave their negotiating team an overwhelming strike mandate, only to have that right blocked at the eleventh hour.

That’s why I am asking you for two things:
1) Denounce Dorothy Shepard and her Department’s decision to stay the labour board’s decision that concluded that the Essential Services in Nursing Homes Act violated collective bargaining rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
2) Put pressure on the Higgs-Austin government to provide enough funding to cover real wage increases for nursing home workers.

As an elected member of the legislature, I call on you to recognize worker’s rights, including their right to fair wages after years of wage austerity.