Unifor’s Atlantic Regional Director has been named to a high level government labour steering committee in the province of New Brunswick. The committee announced Thursday is designed to build stronger relationships with the labour movement.
“Unifor is pleased to be part of this progressive project. Through strong social dialogue we can build a stronger economy with good jobs, create safer workplaces, and improve working conditions for all New Brunswick workers,” said Lana Payne, Atlantic regional director.
This approach has already lead to improvements to worker’s rights after the province introduced legislation on first-contract arbitration and a commitment to develop new workplace regulations aimed at preventing workplace violence in the October’s Throne Speech.
The province says working with labour unions is key because of the “important role that workers play in enabling economic growth and social progress,” said Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage.
“Labour has a number of priority issues we would like to advance including enhanced upskilling and training opportunities for workers which is key to attracting the investment needed to create good community supporting jobs,” said Payne whose union represents 7200 workers in N.B.
The steering committee will oversee five working groups that include four representatives from government and four from labour.
Committee representatives share ideas and make recommendations to government on several issues such as workplace violence, workers’ compensation, employment standards, social welfare, pay equity, training and outsourcing.
“It’s my hope to advance labour standards for all workers. Despite very good progress on pay equity, the N.B. government still has some work to do. And our goal is also to work towards a timetable for legislation granting paid leave for victims of domestic violence,” said Payne.
The steering committee includes four labour leaders and five cabinet ministers:
- Lana Payne, Unifor
- Patrick Colford, New Brunswick Federation of Labour
- Daniel Legere, Canadian Union of Public Employees
- Paula Doucet, New Brunswick Nurses Union
- Gilles LePage, Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister
- Roger Melanson, Treasury Board President
- Cathy Rogers, Finance Minister
- Benoît Bourque, Health Minister
- Bill Fraser, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
The committee and working groups will meet regularly and its first task will be to launch a task force to examine the outsourcing of non-clinical services.
Ian Hutchison, Atlantic regional chair, Tammy Moore, Atlantic regional executive member, and Mike MacMullin, Unifor National Representative, will represent Unifor on the working groups.
Unifor believes that while collective bargaining remains one of the single best tools to advance working conditions, the union is committed to advancing the broader cause for working people through political bargaining or social dialogue opportunities like this.