New Brunswick — After months of negotiations and contentious legal battles, Premier Blaine Higgs teased on Wednesday that he will be announcing a new salary proposal for nursing home workers, but added that it “won’t be what they want.”
This morning, a PDF copy of said proposal was leaked onto the Loyalist City Newschasers Facebook group. The document outlined that while there would be no raise in pay for the workers, they would be free to “claim ownership over surplus medication for the purposes of selling or personal recreational consumption.”
Union leader Patricia Marquelle has since come out in opposition to the plan, calling it “untenable.”
“It’s laughable that the province is trying to give us advice for selling drugs,” she told The Manatee in a written statement. “Have you seen how Cannabis NB is doing?”
Higgs appeared before the press this morning to explain the reasoning behind the proposed benefits package.
“Listen, things are tough all over,” he told reporters, with a matter-of-fact shrug. “Everyone has to have a, uh…what’s it called, Bob?…a side hustle? Right. Everyone’s got to have a side hustle these days, and I see no reason why government employees should be any different.”
Higgs explained that because Medicare subsidizes the cost of pills directly from the pharmaceutical companies, there is a wealth of unused pain medication that can easily be repurposed by the workers, so long as they are “willing to put in the extra work.”
“We’ve got a serious opioid epidemic in this province,” he added. “You cannot tell me that you can’t make a decent living in that kind of environment.”
Still, isn’t the premier concerned that the initiative might create some ill will between himself and the nursing home workers? After all, at 86, Higgs might find himself in the care of one of these facilities sooner rather than later.
“Nah,” he said, dismissing the question with a flippant wave. “That’s next-year Blaine’s problem.”