New Brunswick nursing home workers are waiting to see whether their right to strike will be upheld after an appeal filed by the province’s Attorney General was made to the New Brunswick Court of Appeal on July 24.
The province is appealing a decision by Chief Justice Tracey Deware who ruled in favour of an earlier labour board decision that deemed most of the workers non-essential, giving them the right to strike. The Chief Justice gave the province until January 2020 to amend the law to ensure it complied with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Court of Appeal is New Brunswick’s highest court. The final level of appeal would be the Supreme Court of Canada.
Sharon Teale, President of the New Brunswick Council of Nursing Homes, part of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, called this latest move by the province a “delay tactic,” asking how many court decisions are required to decide the issue.
Nursing home workers in the province include licensed practical nurses, resident attendants, cooks, laundry staff and other workers at more than 60 nursing homes across the province. most nursing home workers are female, but pay equity considerations do not appear to have figured prominently into the NB government’s offers to date.