Thursday, June 27, 2002 (Fredericton) – Negotiations have broken off between Local 1418 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the provincial government. Local 1418 represents, social workers and 12 other groups of front-line professionals.
“We are extremely disappointed with how the government handled negotiations,” said Anne Hogan, President of CUPE 1418. “We entered into this process in good faith, hoping for a fair contract. Instead, we feel like we have wasted our time.”
The government offered a wage increase of just 9 per cent over four years – not much higher than their initial offer – and small lump sum bonuses for certain job classifications.
“The Lord government engaged in shameful divide and conquer tactics,” said Anne Hogan. “This is not going to work. We want a wage increase for all our members, not just for some groups.”
The key issues of recruitment and retention of staff are still on the table and the union is determined that they will be adequately addressed by government.
“We are putting the government on notice that we are willing to stand up for our rights,” said Anne Hogan. “And we are not alone. The Executive and members of all CUPE NB have been very clear that they view this as their fight, too. They will be there to support us, no matter what. The Officers of CUPE National have also pledged to support us – that’s 500,000 members across Canada!”
The union broke off negotiations last Friday, after the government failed, despite promises to the contrary, to move on several key issues. At that time, a decision was made by the union executive to share details with their members before issuing a public statement. The union is now in a legal strike position and picket lines could go up seven days after notice has been given to the government.
“We haven’t decided where or when the first actions will take place. We still hope to avoid a strike, but right now, the ball is pretty much in the court of the Premier and his Cabinet,” said Ms. Hogan. “We are determined to get a fair contract for our members.”
CUPE Local 1418 represents more than 1200 workers across the province. They include social workers, case managers, probation officers, psychometrists, clinical psychologists, employment counsellors, managers and supervisors, nutritionists, occupational therapists, family court mediators, human rights officers, recreation and culture program officers, recreation leaders and therapists.
For more information:Anne Hogan, 506-856-3020 (w), 506-858-9960 (h)
Robert LeMoignan, 506-547-2051 (w), 506-545-5441 (cell)