Fredericton — After 15 days on the picket line, Premier Blaine Higgs brought the CUPE public sector strike to a sudden conclusion today without paying one additional penny in wage increases.
Higgs said he would agree to “walk a mile in the shoes of our frontline workers” by doing each of their jobs for one year. Moreover, while doing their jobs he would forego his $152,000 salary and receive only the unionized wages for that particular job.
After 12 months, both sides will return to the table to resume negotiations.
Upon hearing this offer, the CUPE membership instantly ended the strike without any debate. “The membership was unanimous, they dropped their signs and immediately went back to work,” said CUPE New Brunswick President Steve Drost. “Without exception, members said ‘Oh man, this I’ve got to see,’ and put everything on hold. This will be like the best episode of Undercover Boss ever!”
Higgs already started his day at the hospital laundry facility in Saint John. Members of the media observing from the sidelines watched him peering at soiled bedsheets muttering, “What the hell is this mess?” while another dump truck of laundry emptied at his feet.
“A lot of our members have more than one job to make ends meet, so we want to make sure he also has that experience,” said the union president. “Later today, the premier will drive a school bus full of screaming elementary school children to their homes, and then pull a shift at the jail guarding dangerous prisoners.
“These jobs are chronically understaffed,” said Drost. “So, there’s lots of places where the premier can pitch in. In fact, we are saving some very ‘special’ jobs done by our members just for him. It will be amazing for morale to see the premier put up the same bullshit that we do on a daily basis.
“He thinks he’s a penny pincher… He’s about to learn what it’s really like to live on a tight budget!”