Today, CUPE Local 1252, the union representing over 9 000 healthcare workers in New Brunswick, is calling on the NB Government to demand Medavie respect its legal obligation to honour Truth & Reconciliation Day (September 30th).
To this day, the private company Medavie has not yet properly compensated the provincial workers they manage for the work done on the official holiday. Meanwhile, all public employees in healthcare that are under public management (Vitalité and Horizon), have been properly paid either on or before March 7, 2023.
“Ambulance NB, Telecare, and Extra-Mural Staff, who are all under Medavie’s management, are entitled to this adjustment. There is no excuse that they have not yet been paid,” said Norma Robinson, President of CUPE Local 1252. “The payment obligation comes from an arbitrators’ order, which was not challenged, so his decision is final and binding,” said Trent Snikkers, CUPE National Servicing Rep.
Earlier in 2022, CUPE 1252 had filed a grievance to have National Truth and Reconciliation Day (NTRD) recognized, which then went to arbitration. In the decision issued on August 10, 2022, arbitrator Robert Breen upheld CUPE 1252’s grievance, ordering the provincial government to recognize the holiday for workers.
“If Treasury Board cannot get Medavie to respect the order, they should not be in a contract with them in the first place,” said Robinson. “That’s the issue with privatization, the public loses control and transparency, and the public has a hard time getting them to respect their obligations,” she added.
The intrusion of private companies in healthcare is a growing concern. “Private personal care attendants cost a fortune to taxpayers. The health networks don’t interview private staff. They are working without the appropriate qualifications, are barely oriented, and are asking our members how to do their own jobs,” said Robinson. “I hope that in this week’s provincial budget, the province sends a clear signal to end this backward practice in Horizon and Vitalité,” concluded Robinson.