As more medical personnel hit the strike, at least one COVID-19 vaccination clinic has been canceled due to a strike by members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, according to the province.
A COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Fredericton, scheduled for Saturday, was canceled.
CBC News has reached out to the province to see if other clinics or test sites have been closed due to the strike, but has not heard back.
In a tweet, Horizon Health said it “assesses health services and will notify the public if there is a change.”
Vitalite Health has also confirmed that a flu clinic in Haut-Madawaska has been canceled today, but has not directly linked the closure to the strike.
While some services have already been affected, the province wrote in a press release Friday that emergency services are in place, but there are “no further designated significant workers for the new services established to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Work disruptions targeting COVID-19 services will result in a significant reduction in the health system’s capacity to provide COVID-19 screening for hospital access, COVID-19 assessment and PCR testing, laboratory services and vaccination.”
Higgs is holding a press conference today
Premier Blaine Higgs is scheduled to hold a press conference today at 14.00
Job action began earlier this week after talks between CUPE and the province broke down.
Higgs told reporters on Friday that he stands by the offer the county made to the union.
He said the province offered wage increases of 8.5 percent over five years, while the union wanted 12 percent over five years.
“We’ve offered a fair package to employees,” Higgs said.
CUPE spokesman Simon Ouellette said CUPE President Steve Drost has been in contact with Higgs, but that the talks were not fruitful.
“It didn’t go very far with the premiere,” Ouellette said. “He seems to have dug into his heels, unfortunately.
“He’s not interested in offering wages that are above inflation, which is hard to understand after he predicts a fifth profit in a row, and we’re talking about the people who … get us out of the pandemic.”
Some medical staff join the strike
Even more workers have gone on strike during Day 2 of the CUPE locals’ work effort in New Brunswick, and some CUPE hospital workers have also gone from work.
Bryan Harris, secretary, treasurer of CUPE 1252 and an emergency physician for Ambulance New Brunswick, confirmed that some local workers have left the job.
Harris said he could not say how many medical services have been affected by the strike.
“I’m in Moncton and there has not really been that much of an impact here. I’ve heard a few things, but a lot of it’s rumors. There’s nothing I really would be able to confirm.”
Harris said that while the local is “100 percent” in favor of the strike, that does not mean the workers really want to be out on strike.
“We’d much rather do our job and do what we love to do, which is help people. But we just have no choice,” Harris said.
These workers are in health zones three, four and seven.
Ten local unions are on strike, with some hitting the strike line after the province withdrew from the talks earlier in the week.
On Saturday, Ouellette said there are six locals officially on strike.
These include school district staff, educational support staff, New Brunswick Community College and Le Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick workers.
A letter sent to the union’s Twitter page thanked the New Brunswickers, who had shown support for the action, which started on Friday.