Families glad nursing home association, workers, are back at the negotiating table
Published Monday, March 11, 2019 9:46PM ADT
Last Updated Monday, March 11, 2019 9:53PM ADT
It was business as usual in New Brunswick's nursing homes on Monday night.
Workers did not go on strike on the weekend after the government got a court injunction.
The home owners and the workers are back at the bargaining table, but the people who live in the homes and their families are uncertain about what will happen next.
Talks resumed behind closed doors between CUPE and the nursing home association.
This Day 2 of a 10-day injunction against job action.
When nursing home employees almost went on strike Sunday morning, families of residents were worried, many making arrangements to take care of their loved ones themselves.
Employees here have been without a contract for 28 months. Their main request is an increase to what they consider 'fair' wages.
Originally, they wanted similar increases to those seen by hospital workers, with added adjustments to aid in employee retention.
“I spend my days looking out for people that I love like my family,” said Nicole Munn, a personal support worker. “And then I go home and I'm beat-down, tired, injured, mentally exhausted from my day and I care for my family. Who's caring for me?”
Rick Mantle is visiting his 86-year-old-father, Tom, like he does every day.
Tom lives with Alzheimer's and spent nearly eight months in hospital before he was moved to this Saint John long-term care facility.
“Hopefully, they'll be able to settle things sooner in the future, instead of kicking things down the road,” Mantle said.
Meanwhile, across the city, at around noon, 150 long-term care workers gathered outside Dorothy Shephard's office. Five of them were invited inside by the minister, where they discussed their experiences of being overworked and underpaid.
Members rallied in other locations across the province today.
In Grand Falls, a couple of dozen protestors from Grand Falls Manor descended on the constituency office of area MLA Chuck Chiasson.
“This profession is probably one of the toughest professions in the province,” Shephard said. “They are with people at end-of-life, and so it's emotional, it's very gratifying, and all of those things play into it.”
Shephard says the provincial government will extend the 10-day stay if they need to, to complete the process.
“I hope it doesn't drag on for two or three years,” Mantle said. “I hope that somehow, things can get settled a lot sooner.”
Everyone is hoping for a quick end to an already-drawn out bargaining process.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jessica Ng.