FREDERICTON (GNB) – Nursing home workers will soon have the opportunity to vote on a final contract offer which will include increased wages over what had previously been offered.

The announcement was made today by Premier Blaine Higgs who said that the provincial government approved the enhanced offer in order to reach a fair settlement with nursing home workers.

“We are starting to hear directly from workers who are frustrated and want to move on,” said Higgs. “We agree it is time to achieve a fair and affordable settlement so that everyone can move forward. That is why we have supported an increase in the offer which nursing homes will take directly to the workers.”

The previous contract expired on Oct. 15, 2016, which means workers will be entitled to three years of retroactive pay increases when a new agreement is signed.

Higgs said he hopes that workers will accept the improved offer as a fair compromise for both them and taxpayers.

“CUPE leadership brought forward wage demands that were unrealistic in an effort to set a precedent for higher wages for all employee groups,” Higgs said. “This action has put nursing home workers in the middle of a tug-of-war. These workers have waited long enough for wage increases and deserve to be treated fairly.”

Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard also said it was time to move forward.

“Most New Brunswickers agree that a strike would jeopardize the safety and security of nursing home residents,” said Shephard. “I am pleased that we are able to provide nursing home operators with increased financial support to put a better offer in front of the workers. We appreciate the essential work they provide to nursing home residents and an agreement will offer peace of mind to residents and their families.”

Details of the final offer have been presented to CUPE as well as to the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board which will co-ordinate and oversee secret-ballot voting in each nursing home.

The Labour and Employment Board will co-ordinate:

  • the location, date and time of each vote;
  • the distribution of details of the offer to each employee;
  • the conduct of the secret-ballot vote and the tabulation of results.