Friday, April 3, 2020

Thank you to workers

This past month has completely changed how we look at the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a few months ago. While many of us remain at home on the advice and direction of our medical community and government, that is not the case for everyone.
Many have to continue working for a variety of reasons, including thousands of New Brunswick Union (NBU) members. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has continued to work in the face of this crisis providing essential services for our communities, province and country.
To the healthcare workers, calling you essential doesn’t even come close to stating your importance. Your work is the most vital part of our society. From respiratory therapists to anesthesia assistants to nurses to physicians and nursing home workers, as well as the many others too numerous to mention, you are the heroes of healthcare.
At the NBU, we’re working each day to try and make sure you have the Personal Protective Equipment you need and that you are working in as safe an environment as possible. Words cannot express the gratitude myself, the staff and all members of the NBU have for you.
I also want to thank other members of the NBU outside of the healthcare sector who continue to do their jobs or have been reassigned to help in other areas during this crisis.
Many Service New Brunswick employees continue to do their jobs either by phone or in some cases at the centres by appointment. Our property tax assessors are back on the job as well.
Conservation officers, Forest Rangers, Off-road Vehicle Enforcement Officers and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers have been sent to enforce the travel restrictions at our provincial borders. Other members of the NBU working in both the provincial libraries and at the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour will be helping at the Red Cross call centre helping those who have lost employment receive financial support to help themselves and their families through difficult times.
I want to thank these members for their professionalism and selflessness. You were asked to step up and help and you’ve answered the call.
To all of the retail workers in grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and convenience stores and the many other places I’m forgetting to mention, thank you for your continued work and placing yourselves at risk for the rest of us. Your work is valued by the NBU and society as a whole. It also makes clear the need to get better pay, benefits and protections for you and your families, something we have worked on in the past and will continue to do for all New Brunswick workers.
Pharmacists have also been invaluable in this situation and deserve a lot of praise for their professionalism and dedication.
The men and women working in manufacturing and production, including our members at Moosehead Breweries, deserve thanks for continuing to produce the items we need.
To Dr. Jennifer Russell, our province’s chief medical officer of health, thank you and your team for guiding us through this time. Your presence on a daily basis, calm demeanour and expertise are so important.
Journalists who continue to provide us coverage of this situation, we also owe you a debt of gratitude. A free press is vital to any democracy, but its importance is only amplified during unprecedented times such as the one we are facing.
To our elected officials both municipally, provincially and nationally, we look to our leaders for guidance, reassurance and aid. We have seen tremendous examples of this here in New Brunswick and at the federal level. Public service is never easy and often thankless, so I take this opportunity to thank you for your work.
Finally, I want to encourage everyone to continue to heed the advice of medical professionals and government officials. The measures in place are to keep us safe and help get us through this pandemic.
As well, I want to encourage kindness with one another and when interacting with someone doing their job. Remember, these people are away from their families performing the services we need, so please be respectful, kind and courteous.
At the NBU we believe in solidarity, it’s one of the founding principles of our union. Now, more than ever, we need solidarity as members of our respective communities, as New Brunswickers and as Canadians.
Together we will get through this.
Susie Proulx-Daigle, President of the NBU