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New Brunswick reaches tentative deal with striking CUPE workers

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick government, CUPE resume talks' New Brunswick government, CUPE resume talks
After days of no movement on either side of the ongoing labour dispute in New Brunswick, both sides have returned to the bargaining table. Premier Blaine Higgs says talks began on Nov. 11 and they are continuing. Nathalie Sturgeon has the story – Nov 12, 2021

Tentative agreements have been reached between the New Brunswick government and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, according to statements made by both sides late Saturday.

“The provincial government has reached tentative collective agreements with the seven local bargaining units represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Parts I, II and III of the public service,” a media release from the government said.

Those locals represent approximately 20,000 workers in the education, health and public service sectors, including road maintenance and parks workers, correctional officers, social workers, court stenographers, laundry workers, school custodians and bus drivers, education assistants, patient care attendants and food and environmental service workers in hospitals, among others.

Read more: New Brunswick reaches tentative deal with striking CUPE workers

It goes on to say all strikes and lockouts end immediately.

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“Employees will return to work as soon as operationally feasible,” the release says.

The details on how schools will reopen are being finalized and will be announced on Sunday, the government said.

“The parties have agreed not to share details of the agreements publicly pending ratification,” the release said.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees also issued a statement on the agreements.

“The CUPE centralized bargaining team and the Government of New Brunswick arrived at a proposed wage package that the CBT took back to their local bargaining teams for consideration,” a statement from CUPE said.

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Seven locals, the statement read, are united in presenting this wage proposal, along with previously agreed to local issues, to their membership for a vote.

“As part of the proposal, the CBT was able to get the government to agree to make this wage proposal available to three Part 4 locals: CUPE local 1866 (WorkSafe NB), local 5017 (NBCC), local 5036 (CCNB).”

It added that Local 963, which represents ANBL workers, is also finalizing a tentative agreement with management “tonight.”

“As part of the process, members will be returning to work as soon as possible, during the voting process. There will be no picket lines tomorrow.”

Read more: New Brunswick parents decry online learning model amid strike

“Remember that through mobilization and province-wide, collective, strike action, you made better wages possible for all CUPE members. We are strong together,” the release adds.

It asks members to stay tuned for any updates from leaders.

The strike lasted 16 days and shuttered schools and involved back-to-work legislation in the health-care sector and a clash of politicians and the union on several occasions.

Public servants, including education sector employees, workers in transportation, corrections and the community college system, have been on strike for over two weeks.

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