Strike looms for thousands of public sector workers in New Brunswick
Thousands of people who work in New Brunswick's public sector could be on strike within a week.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) have seen seven of its 10 locals in New Brunswick vote to strike unless the province comes to the table.
They say they are the least paid public workers in Canada and want a fair deal.
Of the votes tallied, between 91 and 98 per cent have voted to strike.
If the province doesn't come to the table soon, CUPE says there could be a strike as early as October.
"We've been working very hard to try and collaborate with the province and get good, fair, decent wages for all of the workers within those locals," says Stephen Drost, president of CUPE New Brunswick.
A strike would affect every facet of the province's public works. CUPE represents thousands of public sector workers, including schools and hospitals.
"It would be in education, it would be in health, it would be in social services, it would be in transportation, communication. These 22,000 members or 10 locals basically are working in pretty well every public sector within this province," says Drost.
The results of four locals were counted Monday and votes for three others were already completed, giving a strong mandate to strike.
"In my opinion, if they have the right to strike, so be it. Obviously, they're looking for some benefits that right now they aren't entitled to or pay that could give them a reasonable cost of living," says David Delong, a Fredericton resident.
Kathleen Lindsay, an educational assistant, says it's scary right now, but job action could help a lot of people in the long run.
"I just want fair wages for everybody to get what they deserve. And if the strike does happen, I hope it's quick because you can't run a province without the workers and we're a big part of it," says Lindsay.
"We don't want the strike to happen, we'd rather see results prior to the strike."
CTV reached out to the Government of New Brunswick for comment, but did not receive a response before the news deadline.