On Monday, July 6, the majority of the NB Council of Nursing Home Union (NBCNHU) members approved the tentative agreement reached between their bargaining team and the provincial government.
The NBCNHU represents 4,400 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) working in 51 nursing homes throughout the province.
Over the last two weeks, CUPE members in the 51 nursing homes participated in the ratification process of the tentative agreement reached on May 26, 2020. The six year deal covers the period between October 2016 to October 2022.
Each of the 51 nursing home union locals’ members had the right to accept or refuse the deal through secret ballot. Forty-five locals voted in favour to accept and six locals voted to reject.
“Although the NBCNHU supported bringing the tentative agreement back for over 4,400 members to decide, we all agree, this deal does not fix all the working conditions issues in our field,” said Sharon Teare, President of the NB Council of Nursing Homes.
“We will continue to push the Government on being accountable to the Letters of Agreement to address the increased acuity of care with every home and increase direct care hours. For those six homes that have rejected the deal, we will reach out to them in order to determine what our next step will be,” said Teare.
The NBCNHU recognizes how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated the crisis affecting long-term care for years. “Just like healthcare, long-term care should be a true, universal and accessible public service,” said Teare.
“Decades of underfunding, understaffing, poor working conditions reveal how we need an overhaul that goes beyond bargaining,” Teare added. “This will be an election issue,” she concluded.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents more than 700,000 members across Canada, including more than 26,000 in New Brunswick.
Read previous NB Media Co-op stories about nursing homes and the struggles of CUPE nursing home workers here.