Covered Bridge employees eager to get back to work as strike hits Day 70
A group of striking workers in western New Brunswick say they want to go back to work, but they’re waiting on the company to accept an invitation to head back to the negotiating table.
Fifteen people employed at Covered Bridge Potato Chips in Hartland, N.B. have been off the job for 70 days, demanding more seniority and better pay.
“I guess we’re out here hoping that he will come to the table and give us a fair contract,” says worker Betty Demerchant.
According to their union, most workers make minimum wage. The union claims some are actually making more money walking the picket line, but the employees - who started the strike on one of the coldest days of the winter - say they just want to get back to work.
“It was like -30 below and it was really, really cold and we were all scared because we didn’t know what was going to happen,” says Demerchant.
The minister of post-secondary education, training and labour has appointed a mediation officer to assist getting both parties back to the negotiating table, but both parties have to agree to the invitation in order for that to happen.
“We’ve said yes. We’ve made a request for Covered Bridge to get back to the table and, so far, they just haven’t, so we’re still waiting,” says Yves Leger, secretary-treasurer of UFCW Local 1288, the union representing the workers.
CTV News reached out to Covered Bridge for comment, but calls and emails were not returned.
With no talks scheduled, the workers say they’re prepared to keep walking the picket line.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown