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Talks have broken off between the province of New Brunswick and CUPE 1418, which represents 13 groups of front-line professionals including social workers.

The governments negotiators tabled exactly the same proposals as they did on June 21, says local president Anne Hogan. We dont understand why they bothered to call us back to the table. We arrived ready to negotiate and hopeful that we could reach a settlement. Instead, we wasted our time.

CUPE 1418 held a province-wide strike vote last June. Eighty-nine per cent of the more than 1,200 members turned out to vote, and of those who voted, 93 per cent voted in favour of strike action. But the local waited until August 26 to file notice with the Labour Board, in the hopes that a contract could be achieved through negotiation.

The Lord government has been given many chances to demonstrate a willingness to negotiate in good faith and they have failed miserably, says Hogan. We have set up strike headquarters in every region of the province. Our members are ready for a strike.

September 4 has been set as the strike deadline.

Despite the fact that government negotiators engaged in outrageous divide and conquer tactics, our members continue to stand together, says Hogan. We will achieve a fair contract that includes a wage increase for all classifications and measures to address the crisis in recruitment and retention.