This Labour Day, let’s celebrate our public sector workers

gmcneil Article

The following sponsored article appears in Saltwire newspapers across the province this week and next, including The Telegram and the West Coast Wire. 

From health care workers to municipal staff, public sector workers are there when we need them most.

Labour Day is a time to be thankful for public services and the workers who provide them. Public services in Newfoundland and Labrador are indispensable — it’s hard to imagine how we could survive without them.

From the health care workers who care for our seniors and clean our hospitals, to the municipal workers who make sure our water is safe to drink, public sector workers are there when we need them most.

What would we do without the bus drivers that get our kids to school safely, or the hospital workers who take care of us when we are sick? Or without librarians to spread the love of books to young readers, and faculty to guide lifelong learning at our universities?

Unfortunately, in recent times public services in Newfoundland and Labrador have been under attack by our own provincial government.

Premier Andrew Furey’s “big reset” contains cuts to public sector workers and the critical services they provide. Instead of committing to universal, public health care, the Health Accord for Newfoundland and Labrador seems to be pointing towards the path of privatization.

Now Premier Furey is floating the idea of publicly funded, privately-operated health care services, after a meeting with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and other conservative premiers in the Atlantic Region.

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador will not stand by and watch our public services get dismantled, and our health care sold off to the highest bidder. Privatization will not solve staffing issues when we are amid a recruitment and retention crisis.

The fundamental job of good government is delivering public services for all, and we will continue to push this government to do the right thing, like taking long-term care facilities out of the hands of private corporations.

We will continue to lobby for improved senior care — 4.1 hours of direct care per resident per day — to be enshrined in legislation.

We will defend workers’ rights, including the right to a decent pension, so that families will be cared for into retirement.

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador will continue to fight for good jobs with better wages, safer workplaces, paid sick days, affordable housing, and accessible childcare and senior care. We will be there to fight for a higher minimum wage, improved income support and a stronger social safety net.

We will continue to push for a society where no one is left behind.

On behalf of our 6,300 CUPE members across the province, we wish you a safe and happy Labour Day.

Sherry Hillier
President, CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador