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The provinces social workers will take to the streets at mid-day this Friday, to participate in the Walk for Children. The Walk is part of a campaign to pressure the provincial government to hire a total of 172 social workers across the province. Events are planned to take place in Fredericton, Moncton, St. John, Campbellton, the Acadian Peninsula and Bathurst.

Our members are truly on the front lines when it comes to protecting children from neglect and abuse, says Robert LeMoignan, President of Local 1418 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). This provinces social workers are dangerously over-worked and over-extended. The Walk for Children is our way to send a message to Premier Lord and Minister Mockler There is a genuine crisis in New Brunswick that can only be addressed through hiring more child protection and children services social workers.

The provincial budget of March 27 committed the province to hiring 20 social workers. This is significantly less than the 172 hiring recommended in a government sponsored report released in July 2000.

CUPE members across Canada have identified work overload as a crisis of monumental proportions, continued LeMoignan. For New Brunswick social workers, resolving this crisis is literally a matter of life and death.

CUPE Local 1418 represents 1,168 professionals who work directly with children, families and the community. The Walk for Children is an ongoing campaign, with activities planned to continue in the coming weeks.

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For more information:

Moncton - Denise Leblanc, (506) 533-3346
Saint John - Shawna Morton, (506) 849-9347 or Stephan Butler (506) 658-3050
Campbellton - Andre Chapados, (506) 789-4914
Acadian Peninsula - Vincent Robichaud, (506) 336-3052
Bathurst Robert LeMoignan (506) 547-2051
Fredericton - Kevin Doucet (506) 325-4896
CUPE Communications Laurie Kingston (613) 237-1590.