Despite numerous calls by UFCW, the Higgs government refuses to properly recognize the essential contributions of long-term care members.
Most recently, the Premier sent this letter to the union, which further demonstrates its lack of respect for frontline workers.
Instead of acknowledging the error and setting aside some of the nearly $50 million provided by the federal government to top-up earnings for essential and long-term care workers, Premier Higgs chooses to pass the buck claiming his hands are tied by third-party contractors.
Even though members work directly alongside government service agencies who are all eligible for federally matched wage top-ups, the Premier’s office is willfully excluding members who are themselves essential, long-term care workers.
The arbitrary exclusion of members from these critical supports at a time when you work tirelessly to meet the needs of residents in long-term care is a shameless attempt to skim workers earnings using third-party contracting as a convenient fallout.
It is crucial to note that the province of New Brunswick spends the least on wage supports across all Atlantic jurisdictions, indicative of their apprehension to match federal funding. Wage supports are critical measures to meet staffing needs in long-term care while providing important income supports at a time when the pandemic continues to devastate local economies.
Now is not the time to leave critical federal funds on the table while abdicating responsibility when choosing the wrong decision. In these unforgiving times we expect our leaders to pull out all the stops in getting us through this pandemic, not passing the buck to deflect accountability.
You deserve better and as your dedicated voice, we will continue to fight for better.
President, UFCW Eastern Provinces Council