Over the past week more than 22,000 Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) members in New Brunswick have been casting ballots in a strike vote. Some of these folks have been working without a contract for as long as five years. Deadlocks have been piling up under consecutive provincial governments, both Liberal and Tory.
On August 27, over 100 members of CUPE's bargaining teams met in Fredericton for a day-long bargaining summit. Guest speakers included the CUPE NB president, the CUPE national president, and the presidents of the Canadian Labour Congress and the NB Federation of Labour.
On August 28, hundreds of CUPE members and their families, friends and supporters marched in 14 communities across New Brunswick. More than 1,000 attended the march in Saint John. The Saint John rally was the largest in memory since a 1992 general strike. At that rally, Socialist Action was there. SA members Chris Thompson, Mackenzie Thomason, Chris Wanamaker, Lynaya Astephen, Josh Floyd and I were there, as well as Saint John NDP candidate Don Paulin. We walked with the SA banner and we helped deliver giant-size invoices to the office of a local MLA, billing the Higgs government for services. In Moncton about 300 people marched; in Fredericton about 250. Invoices were delivered there as well.