Drivers on Regent street in Fredericton honked in support of the New Brunswick Council of Nursing Home Unions (NBCNHU) and their supporters who were protesting in front of the New Brunswick Liberal Party Biannual Convention on Friday, November 13, 2009. The protest targeted the Liberal government’s move this spring to unilaterally impose a two-year wage freeze on nursing home workers, the day after the workers had signed a contract with their private-sector employer, the New Brunswick Nursing Home Association; a contract that included 4 years of pay increases.
Valerie Black, president of the NBCNHU said at the protest, “The New Brunswick Liberal government needs to understand that nursing home workers are not going away. We want the four year collective agreement that was bargained in good faith on March 12th. Nursing home workers are out here today to express displeasure that the government has chosen to interfere with the collective bargaining process. We want to send a strong message that when you negotiate in good faith a deal is a deal.”
When asked whether she thought the economic crisis was being used as a smokescreen to attack workers, Black said, “Any economist that you talk with that has the working class people in mind will tell you that it is a capitalist agenda to move forward with a wage freeze, and to blame it on an economic crisis.”
“We are only asking what’s fair, parity with hospital workers,” Black said.
Alex Corey is a member of the NB Media Co-op.