Landfill Workers in Allardville, New Brunswick Continue to Demand Acceptable Collective Agreement

Red Pine Landfill workers' picket March 18, 2020, before taking picket line down to comply with COVID-19 health guidelines.

In its press release dated May 4, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) informs that beginning May 13, the 23 workers of the Red Pine Landfill will be entering into their fourth month of a lockout imposed by their employer, the Red Pine Solid Waste Facility in Allardville, New Brunswick. The Facility is operated by the Chaleur Regional Service Commission (CRSC), which is mainly comprised of mayors from the municipalities that make up the Chaleur region in northern New Brunswick.

There is still no end in sight to the lockout, the press release states, as the CRSC refuses to back off from its unacceptable power grab that denies sick leave by demanding that the workers get a doctor's note for the very first day they call in sick. According to the workers, this significantly increases the number of employees who are working while sick. Those employed at the landfill and their union, CUPE Local 4193, have repeatedly requested that the Commission put an end to the lockout during the pandemic and allow the workers back in so that good faith bargaining can begin so that the issue is settled. However they have faced blunt refusal. To its shame, the Commission is actually taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of emergency decreed by the New Brunswick government on March 19, that has been renewed twice since. Following the provincial government's March 19 emergency pandemic directive, the Allardville landfill workers took down their picket in compliance with the order that prevents them from congregating during the pandemic crisis. This was interpreted by the CRSC as a blank cheque to openly hire more scabs to replace the locked-out workers, who further point out that the employer is using family members and posting student positions for work that belongs to union members.

At this time, besides the injustice committed against them, the landfill workers are also pointing to potential disasters to the environment that the lockout may cause.

"Spring is coming, the ground is thawing, and the landfill is now an environmental time bomb," said CUPE Local 4193 President Serge Plourde, in a press release dated May 5.

Among the locked-out employees is an environmental technologist who is seriously concerned about the situation. "Are water treatment testing practices regularly and meticulously performed by competent and experienced personnel who are familiar with the reality of the landfill site? "asks Yvon Richard, the technologist at the plant.

"It's only a matter of time, in the event of a failure to test, a very rainy spring, to see contaminated spills in the Nepisiguit River," Richard adds.

In the face of this unacceptable situation, CUPE is renewing its call to all  its organizations and locals across the country to help the CUPE 4193 workers in their pursuit of an immediate end to the lockout and the signing of a collective agreement that they deem acceptable, by sending letters of support and financial contributions to them. In visiting the President of CUPE 4193's facebook page, one can see the large number of CUPE organizations and locals from across the country that are contributing financial support to the locked-out workers. Other unions are also providing financial assistance to these workers, such as the New Brunswick Nurses Union and the Eastern Provinces Council of the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Financial support can be sent to CUPE Local 4193, to the attention of Serge Plourde, President, 4246 Road 134, Allardville, New Brunswick, E8L 1H2.

This article was published in

Number 35 - May 19, 2020

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Landfill Workers in Allardville, New Brunswick Continue to Demand Acceptable Collective Agreement


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