New Brunswick Nurses Union ratifies collective agreement with province

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Paula Doucet, the president of the New Brunswick Nurses Union, is shown outside the legislature in September. (Ed Hunter  - image credit)
Paula Doucet, the president of the New Brunswick Nurses Union, is shown outside the legislature in September. (Ed Hunter - image credit)

The largest bargaining unit within the New Brunswick Nurses Union has voted to accept a collective agreement reached with the province.

Fifty-six per cent of nurses voted in favour.

The results were tallied on Friday, the union said in a statement issued Saturday.

"I am pleased that a collective agreement has been ratified," Paula Doucet, the president of the union, said in the statement.

"This is the first step in improving the work and personal lives of nurses in New Brunswick; however, I recognize that the poor working conditions and retention and recruitment won't be fixed overnight. They will remain priority issues for NBNU."

The province reached a tentative agreement with the union on Dec. 10, four days after nurses voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

Nurses rejected two previous tentative agreements prior to the strike vote in July and September.

Two other bargaining units representing nurse managers and supervisors are also voting on a tentative agreement that was offered by the province, with voting expected to wrap up on Monday, the union said.

The union represents about 8,000 registered nurses in the province, in addition to nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, and workers in public and community health programs, Ambulance NB and extra-mural programs.

"Details of the agreements will remain confidential at this time," said Doucet, who was not immediately available for comment.

Finance Minister Ernie Steeves said the province is pleased to have a resolution "with these workers who have been working exceptionally hard since the start of the pandemic."

"We appreciate their dedication to the health and well-being of New Brunswickers. This deal is fair for employees and New Brunswick taxpayers. We look forward to the nurse managers' vote in the coming days."

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