Newfoundland and Labrador 2023 Budget Ignores Essential Health Care Workers

tjohnston News Release

(St. John’s) – It is clear that the province is no longer in an economic crisis with the government’s release of its revised figures from 2022-23 of an additional $1.5 billion in revenue last fiscal year. However, the 2023-24 budget released today reinvests none of this revenue into public sector workers, leaving workers in Health Care, Libraries, Housing, Transition and Group Homes, and Education to have their income further eroded by high inflation.

A personal care assistant who earned $46,293 in April 2020 would have to be earning $51,461 in January 2023 just to keep up with inflation. Instead, the government’s plan would have that PCA earning $47,218. “Why does the government expect people to work for less each year? A PCA is making $4,242 less in 2023 than they did in 2020 due to inflation,” said CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador president Sherry Hillier. “This is why we have a retention issue. Who would work for less each year?”

“This budget promised $23 million to Health Care workers, but none will go to essential workers who are responsible for cooking, cleaning, and changing and caring for residents. These people are leaving the sector because they can’t make ends meet,” said Hillier. “Recruitment initiatives are great, but they don’t mean anything if we aren’t paying people what they’re worth.”

“We’ve been campaigning for increased spending in public housing for years. Today, the government promised to invest $17 million to repair and renovate vacant units,” said Hillier, “but we need to talk about retention again. The reality is that they can’t fill the positions needed for these improvements because they’re not paying their workers a competitive wage. If they want this initiative to work, they need to start paying public sector workers competitively.”

“We are pleased to see the promise to release a new wage grid for ECEs [Early Childhood Educators]. For years, they’ve been expected to do more with less, and investing $64 million is a good start. They are essential for our children’s early education,” said Hillier, “and it’s time we start paying them with that in mind. I’m hopeful that this new grid will properly reflect the work they do without capping their wages.”

For more information, contact:

Sherry Hillier
President, CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador
(709) 765-2996

Taylor Johnston
CUPE Atlantic Communications
(902) 536-4922

SAVE THE DATE: Atlantic Weeklong – June 25 – 30th

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This year’s Atlantic Weeklong will take place from June 25 – 30th at The Wilds Resort in Holyrood, Newfoundland and Labrador. More details will be announced shortly!

This year's Atlantic Weeklong will take place from June 25 - 30th at The Wilds Resort in Holyrood, Newfoundland and Labrador. More details will be announced shortly!

This year’s Atlantic Weeklong will take place from June 25 – 30th at The Wilds Resort in Holyrood, Newfoundland and Labrador. More details will be announced shortly!


CUPE is looking for facilitators!

tjohnston Advertisement, Education, Job Posting

Member facilitators are a vital part of CUPE’s education program, providing a wide variety of workshops to members across Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and at times, across the country.

Are you someone who:

  • has experience in their local – on the Executive, as a steward on a committee or as an activist?
  • is comfortable speaking in front of groups?
  • is pro-CUPE and represents CUPE’s values?
  • represents CUPE’s diversity – gender, racialized, Black, Indigenous, differently abled, 2SLGBTQI+, and young workers?
  • comes from different areas of the province and works in different sectors?
  • has time in their schedules to facilitate a few times a year, including on weekends and during the week?
  • has been a participant in a CUPE workshop?
  • is open to learning new things and new ways of doing things?

If that sounds like you, download the application here.

Members should send their applications to Michelle’s attention ( and copy by March 06, 2023. The first member facilitator training session is taking place in Ottawa in May. Applications received after this date will be considered for future training sessions.

For more detailed information about this exciting program, see our CUPE National website.

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador 49th Annual Convention

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CUPE NL invites all locals to join them at the Delta Hotel, St. John’s on May 1st-3rd, 2023 for their 49th annual convention.

Registration will be held on Sunday, April 30th at 4:00 p.m. at the Delta Hotel. Locals are requested to make their own reservations, but a block of rooms, named “CUPE,” will be held for delegates at a rate of $139.00 plus taxes per night.

To send delegates, locals must have their per capita to CUPE National and CUPE NL up to and including April 2023.

For more information, please see the full Convention Call available for download here.

Aerial view of Channel-Port aux Basques with the town name superimposed on photo

CUPE to make donation to hurricane relief efforts in Port aux Basques – Wednesday at 10 a.m.

creynolds Article

On behalf of the members of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador, a donation of $20,000 will be made to the Salvation Army for hurricane relief efforts. The donation will be presented by CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier at an event to be held in Channel-Port aux Basques on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.

“Hurricane Fiona was devastating for our members in the Port aux Basques area and many other people in the community. Many have lost everything and it’s heartbreaking,” says Hillier. “We want to do what we can to help and hope that this donation will help this beautiful community get back on its feet.”

“CUPE locals across the province and our executive board gave generously to our ‘Fiona Solidarity Fund’ so that we can make this donation. It’s our way of giving back to a community that we love dearly and that has lost so much,” says Hillier.

LOCATION: 98 Main Street W., Channel-Port aux Basques

TIME: Wednesday, November 16, at 10 a.m.

SPEAKERS: Sherry Hillier, CUPE NL president; and David and Beverly Harvey, Salvation Army representatives

Across the province, CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador proudly represents more than 6,300 working women and men in 60 locals.The union represents workers in health care, education, public housing, provincial libraries, municipalities, university, child care, recycling, social services and much more.

Aerial view of Channel-Port aux Basques with the town name superimposed on photo


Aerial photo of downtown St. John's and the CUPE NL logo

City of St. John’s municipal workers ratify new collective agreement

creynolds Collective Bargaining

Members of the Canadian union of Public Employees (CUP) Local 1289 in St. John’s have voted in favour of ratifying a new four-year collective agreement at a meeting held Tuesday, October 11, 2022.

The new deal includes a wage increase of 11% over four years, a signing bonus, improved sick leave provisions for part-time workers, enhancements to bereavement leave, and guaranteed overtime for scheduled events.

“I’d like to thank our bargaining committee who worked hard on behalf of our members to reach this deal,” says CUPE 1289 President Erin Woodfine. “We look forward to continuing to partner with the City to provide quality community services to residents and businesses.”

CUPE 1289 approximately 380 inside municipal workers with the City of St. John’s.

Text: Fiona Solidarity Fund. Image: CUPE NL logo.

Rebuilding After Fiona: an Act of Solidarity

creynolds Article


While we begin the recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, we must take time to acknowledge the countless number of our members who kept going to work to assist in the clean-up, take care of our children, the elderly and the sick.

Our public sector workers demonstrate time and time again how they keep this province and our communities going.

On behalf of the entire CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador Executive Board we say thank you.

However, for some of our members the devastation of Fiona has irrevocably changed their lives. Some have lost everything and need our assistance. We have an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity.

CUPE NL has established a Fiona Solidarity Fund to help our union family in their time of greatest need. We are appealing to our members and locals to also contribute to this fund so that we can help as many people as possible.

Text: Fiona Solidarity Fund. Image: CUPE NL logo.Cheques should be made out to CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador and can be mailed to or dropped off at:

CUPE St. John’s Office
102-15 International Place
St. John’s, NL
A1A 0L4

The Fiona Solidarity Fund will be available to members whose lives have been impacted and would benefit from financial assistance.

You can apply for this assistance by sending an email to Sherry Hillier ( with your name, local number, contact info and a brief summary of how you were impacted.

Yours in solidarity,

Sherry Hillier
President of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador

A message on behalf of the CUPE NL Executive Board.

Aerial photo of downtown St. John's and the CUPE NL logo

Tentative agreement reached between municipal workers and City of St. John’s

creynolds Collective Bargaining

Inside municipal workers with the City of St. John’s, represented by the Canadian union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1289, reached a tentative agreement with their employer on Thursday.

“It was a good round of bargaining,” says Erin Woodfine, president of CUPE 1289, representing approximately 380 inside municipal workers. “The employer listened to our concerns, and issues were discussed and addressed in detail. Overall, it was a very respectful round of bargaining for both sides.”

Details of the contract will not be made available until it has been presented to union members, and both sides have ratified the agreement. The union’s bargaining committee will present the tentative collective agreement to the membership and a ratification vote will take place on Tuesday, October 11.

“I’d like to thank our bargaining committee who worked hard on behalf of our members to reach this deal,” says Woodfine. “We are pleased to recommend this tentative agreement to members for acceptance.”

A solidarity message from Mark Hancock and Candace Rennick during Hurricane Fiona recovery

creynolds Article

A solidarity message to CUPE members across Atlantic Canada and the Maritimes from CUPE National President Mark Hancock and CUPE National Secretary-treasurer Candace Rennick.

Sisters, Brothers, and Friends:

As the recovery from the destruction of storm Fiona begins, we are only starting to comprehend the full extent of the damages. We have seen the devastating images of homes being swept away out to sea, roofs and other debris being stripped off homes and buildings, countless powerlines damaged, and the loss of hundreds of trees that have been staples in so many communities for decades.

Our hearts are with all of you in the Atlantic and Maritimes provinces and Quebec’s Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

While workers from affected communities are removing debris and restoring transportation links and power lines, we want to express our support to all of you. We know that a lot of CUPE members are working around the clock as healthcare, paramedics, and municipal and energy workers while personally being impacted by this natural disaster.

We hope that you, your families, and your friends are safe. And by standing together and supporting one another, we know you will rebuild, and we will be there to support you as you do.

In solidarity,

Mark Hancock
CUPE National President

Candace Rennick
CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer

Consoeurs, confrères et amis,

Alors que débute le nettoyage des débris que la tempête Fiona a laissé derrière elle, nous commençons à peine à mesurer l’étendue des dommages. Nous avons vu les images dévastatrices de maisons emportées par la mer, de toits et de débris arrachés de maisons et d’édifices; d’innombrables lignes électriques endommagées et la perte de centaines d’arbres faisant partie du paysage de tant de communautés depuis des décennies.

Nos pensées sont avec vous tous en Atlantique et dans les Maritimes, tout comme aux Îles-de-la-Madeleine au Québec.

Alors que les travailleuses et travailleurs des communautés affectées retirent les débris de toute sorte, rétablissent les liaisons de transport et le courant électrique, nous voulons que vous sachiez que nous sommes avec vous. Nous savons que plusieurs membres du SCFP travaillent sans relâche comme travailleurs et travailleuses dans les secteurs de la santé, du paramédical, du municipal et de l’énergie tout en étant affectés personnellement par cette catastrophe naturelle.

Nous espérons que vous, vos familles et amis êtes en sécurité. En se serrant les coudes tous ensemble, nous savons que vous allez rebâtir et nous serons là pour vous appuyer.

En toute solidarité,

Le président national,
Mark Hancock

La secrétaire-trésorière nationale,
Candace Rennick