Today, the first portion of the 22,000 CUPE New Brunswick members in 10 locals across many sectors took to the picket lines and courageously went on strike.

Despite being forced to make this decision after a deadlock in negotiations with the province, with some locals going without a contract for up to 5 years now, this is an incredible and inspiring example of collective action and collective resolve.

The fact that school bus drivers, social workers, custodians and maintenance workers, and health care workers, among so many others, could come together and take action in unison demands our admiration and our solidarity, and we need to let CUPE New Brunswick know that they have it from all 280,000 members of CUPE in Ontario.

We must remember, their struggle is very similar to ours in Ontario, and this is yet another reason for solidarity. Premier Blaine Higgs and the Conservative government have refused to budge on improving wages for critical public sector workers, demanding that they accept wage increases below the rate of inflation, following years of falling further and further behind. It’s reminiscent of the Ford Conservatives’ wage restraint legislation, Bill 124, which caps public sector workers wages and benefit increases at 1%, far below what is deserved and far below the rate of inflation.

Despite acknowledging a surplus of $38-million, Premier Higgs still refuses to budge.

And to add insult to injury, Higgs is threatening to introduce back-to-work legislation or make use of the province’s COVID-19 emergency order to end the strike.

We unreservedly oppose the government’s threat of introducing back-to-work legislation to end the strike action.

Free and fair collective bargaining is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for a reason. It’s a fundamental right which should not be superseded anytime an employer fails to get its way. The simple fact is that these workers are engaged in a legal strike.

Today, in solidarity with 22,000 CUPE members in New Brunswick, we’re encouraging locals to send their own message of solidarity, to donate to the strike fund, and to look for updates on the CUPE New Brunswick page.

CUPE Ontario was proud to adopt a solidarity pact with CUPE New Brunswick and donate $50,000 in July and more Solidarity & Support are on the way from us at CUPE Ontario. Join us in building that solidarity and support for these courageous and heroic workers. More than ever, members of our union, public sector workers who keep communities running, deserve our continued solidarity.