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FREDERICTON, N.B. - The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the New Brunswick Union (NBU) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 37 have taken a major step to obtain freedom of association for the thousands of casual workers employed throughout the public service of New Brunswick.

Legal proceedings have been commenced in the Court of Queen’s Bench on September 7, 2005, and notice has been served on the Province of New Brunswick.

We can no longer tolerate the abuse of these hard working women and men who are told they are not “employees” and who are denied the most basic guarantee found under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – the constitutional right to “freedom of association”. These individuals are told they have no rights, benefits, employment security, and cannot belong to any union’, said Daniel Légère President of CUPE NB.

We fully believe that constitutional rights as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and in particular sections 2(d), 7 and 15 have been violated or denied’, explained Tom Mann Executive director of NBU.

The Federal Government and the Province of New Brunswick have ratified the “Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize” of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

In 2001, the United Nations International Labour Organization ruled that the government of New Brunswick is violating international labour provisions by denying casual workers freedom of association.

For many years, the casuals have performed work in the hospitals, schools, highways, jails and other government departments, but are denied the regular wages, benefits, employment security, pensions and the fundamental freedom of association’, said Wade Greenlaw, Business Manager IBEW Local 37.

Under the New Brunswick Public Service Labour Relations Act, casuals and temporary workers in the public service are not defined as employees. Although many carry almost a full workload or have been working in the public service for years, they do not have the right to unionize and to be covered by a collective agreement.

A meeting is schedule for September 28, 2005 with Government officials to try to convince them to abide by the ILO ruling and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

For more information:

Danielle Savoie
CUPE communication
(506) 381-1966