Jan. 25, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - A new, four-year contract has been signed between the New Brunswick Nursing Home Association and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
The contract includes wage increases totalling an average of 19 per cent over four years, including general economic increases and adjustments for pay equity, and is retroactive to Oct. 16, 2008. A two-year wage freeze takes effect at the end of the collective agreement. The cost of the collective agreement is $21.5 million.
"As the funding source for 85 per cent of nursing home operations in New Brunswick, the provincial government will honour this contract, which respects the wage freeze policy we put in place as part of the effort to manage government expenditures," said Premier Shawn Graham. "We are pleased to see a fair and reasonable settlement has been agreed upon by CUPE and their employer, the New Brunswick Nursing Home Association."
The negotiations between the New Brunswick Nursing Home Association and CUPE started in the fall of 2008.
"The New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes is very pleased with the commitment the provincial government has undertaken to guarantee labour stability in nursing homes," said Michael Keating, executive director of the association. "Our residents, together with their families, can feel comfort through their knowledge that the professional care furnished by our caring employees will not be disrupted."
In recognition of current fiscal realities and to minimize public sector job loss, the provincial government introduced a mandatory two-year wage freeze in 2009 for all government employees. The wage freeze was extended to include the nursing home sector.
The New Brunswick Nurses' Union and the New Brunswick Union of Public and Private Employees, two other unions serving the nursing home sector, reached an agreement with the New Brunswick Nursing Home Association during an earlier round of negotiations in 2009.
"I recognize and express my thanks to all those dedicated employees in the nursing home sector for the work they do every day to provide quality, consistent care to our seniors living in nursing homes," said Minister of State for Seniors Brian Kenny. "The settlement of this contract with CUPE is very good news for all parties involved."
CUPE represents nursing home workers in 46 of the 62 licensed nursing homes in New Brunswick totalling about 4,000 full-time employees.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Marie Andrée Bolduc, communications, Office of the Premier, 506-444-2286; Judy Cole, communications, Senior and Healthy Aging Secretariat, 506-444-3522; Michael Keating, executive director, New Brunswick Nursing Home Association, 506-460-6262.