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The Justice Building on Queen Street in Fredericton. Image: Brad Perry

Nursing home unions sue N.B. government

By Brad Perry Aug 21, 2023 | 5:10 AM

Three unions representing New Brunswick nursing home workers have filed a lawsuit against the province.

It alleges a piece of provincial legislation is unconstitutional as it denies workers of any meaningful collective bargaining process.

The suit was filed by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the New Brunswick Nurses’ Union, and the New Brunswick Union.

According to the unions, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal declared the Essential Services in Nursing Homes Act as unconstitutional in 2019.

They said it prevents nursing home workers from engaging in a strike without providing an alternative mechanism, such as binding arbitration.

Following the court decision, which gave the province six months to make changes, amendments were brought forward to make binding arbitration available.

But the unions claim in their lawsuit that binding arbitration is “available in theory, but unavailable in practice.”

“The lawsuit alleges the government acted in bad faith and that it has failed to respect previous court decisions,” they said in a Friday news release.

The three unions represent more than 5,000 workers in New Brunswick nursing homes.


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