Bring wages in long-term care up to par with healthcare

Fredericton, April 14, 2022 – CUPE Local 5446, representing more than 550 Shannex care home workers in NB, along with the NB Council of Nursing Home Unions (NBCNHU), representing more than 4,600 nursing home workers in our province, is inviting the Government of New Brunswick to adjust wages for all long-term-care workers to the same levels as in healthcare.

CUPE locals have lobbied and fought hard to improve wages for workers in all sectors. With the 2021 CUPE strike, healthcare workers were among those able to make Premier Higgs listen to the urgent need in their sector. Workers in healthcare won over 15% to 17% increases in wages, which had been stagnant for years. In long-term care, however, where there is no real right to strike, wages have remained below inflation.  “In Shannex establishments and in all other nursing homes, the need to bring wages up to par with healthcare is very real,” declared Hope Cyr, President of CUPE Local 5446. “Every week we are losing LTC workers, who, understandably, are going over to work in hospitals where they are better compensated,” added Cyr.

“The strike had a vast positive domino effect on other sectors, including for the Cabinet ministers themselves, who recognized they also needed a cost-of-living adjustment to their salaries,” said Stephen Drost, President of CUPE NB. “Long-term care workers and special care workers should also benefit from a similar wage adjustment,” he added.

Back in September 2021, before the October strike, the NBCNHU held a press conference to demand Premier Higgs agree to the union’s proposed immediate 4$/hour wage increase MOU (Memorandum of Agreement) for all CUPE classifications in long-term care homes.

“We lobbied the government to increase care hours, but residents are still not getting the minimum care hours guaranteed under the Nursing Homes Act because of the critical lack of staff” reminded Sharon Teare, President of the NBCNHU. “It’s time the Premier made some bold moves to fix the crisis,” said Teare.

“The province can act now for all workers in long-term care and special care, from LPNs to care aides to environmental staff. They should not delay and delay and wait until a strike is declared to begin thinking about improving our situation,” concluded Hope Cyr.