Austin offers solution to divert money to frontline nursing home workers
If New Brunswick's new government has its way, nursing home workers will lose their right to strike.
With both sides heading to court at the end of the week, a potential strike by nursing home workers has taken yet another turn.
The province is hoping for a long-term stay order that would keep workers from striking until after a judicial review ruled whether they are “essential.”
In the meantime, residents and families are left waiting.
“Hopefully, they'll be able to settle things sooner in the future, instead of kicking things down the road,” said Rick Mantle, the son of nursing home resident.
While negotiations continue behind closed doors, People's Alliance of New Brunswick leader Kris Austin has an idea he says could save some money -- which would go to frontline workers.
“Maybe one administrator looking after possibly two or three homes,” Austin said. “Our objective has been to try to push the government to say look, go to the table, do what can be done at the table.”
Tony Weeks, the president and CEO of York Care Centre, says he's very open to different ideas.
“We want as many dollars as we can to go back to the direct care of residents, to the frontline,” Weeks said.“However, we also have big operations that we're running and require strong leadership, not only for the environment we're in today, but preparing for the future, so we can't lose sight of that, but we absolutely should be open-minded about opportunities to be as efficient as possible.”
Whether those ideas are presented in public, or behind closed doors, residents are still waiting to see what will happen.
“Even today, as I walked the halls, I talked to residents and family members and they're still quite satisfied now and happy to get back to some normality in their lives, but still concerned and everybody's closely watching the talks that are going on right now.”
There are 4,500 people in nursing homes across New Brunswick.
The stay order is in place until early next week.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.