Fredericton, NB, October 7, 2021 – Health care workers denounce the government’s unilateral action to carve out Licenced Practical Nurses from CUPE Local 1252, representing close to 10,000 healthcare workers in New Brunswick.
CUPE learned today, via a letter from Treasury Board, that Higgs’ ordered over 1,900 LPNS to be reclassified from CUPE into the NB Nurses Union. This move takes effect tomorrow, October 8.
“This is union-busting at its worst. Higgs is doing this because more than 94% of healthcare workers voted for a strike. They voted to end his mismanagement of our public healthcare system and to end his abuse of front-line workers,” said Norma Robinson, President of CUPE Local 1252. “This retribution is an insult to the rights of all healthcare workers to free collective bargaining. Workers told him over and over to fix the staffing crisis at the bargaining table, not through divide and conquer tactics,” added Robinson.
CUPE Local 1252 is among 10 CUPE locals in New Brunswick who recently obtained strong strike votes and are fighting to get fair wages for front-line workers.
The government’s reclassification letter came less than five hours after CUPE had written to the Premier this morning, telling the premier they would not call members to strike in the next 14 days in order to protect the public’s safety because of increased COVID-19 cases.
In 2018, the provincial government began a job review of the LPN classifications that had been agreed to previously in bargaining with Local 1252. “It’s been three years since, and the government still refuses to implement the conclusions of the JAQ process, the “Job Analysis Questionnaire,” which would have resulted in a significant wage increase for LPNs,” said Robinson. Since then, Higgs remained steadfast on the opinion that the LPNs’ skillset had not changed so he could deny them proper compensation.
“Higgs is wrong to think this will silence the voice of those professional frontline workers who took a stand to stop the erosion of public healthcare,” concluded Robinson.
CUPE Local 1252 represents close to 10,000 healthcare workers in NB, over 1,900 of which are LPNs.