Friday, March 13, 2020

New Brunswick Union taking preventative measures regarding COVID-19

The world is facing an unprecedented situation with COVID-19 which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
This means our priority needs to shift from preventing the virus from spreading to taking all appropriate measures to slow down the spread so as to not overwhelm our healthcare system.
During the evolution of COVID-19 from regionalized outbreaks to the current global pandemic, the priority of the New Brunswick Union (NBU) has been to take appropriate action at every step to protect the physical and financial health of our staff and members with as minimal as possible disruption to our union business.
With our priorities clearly defined, the New Brunswick Union Board of Directors unanimously passed the following motion:
• All non-essential NBU member gatherings will be postponed;
• Where possible, essential gatherings will be conducted remotely; and,
• The Board of Directors will monitor the situation and reassess as new information on the pandemic becomes available.
Further to this, the NBU offices will be closed to the public effective at the end of business on March 13, 2020. We will encourage all staff to work from home as much as their schedules and responsibilities permit. Other measures, including potential office closure, will be determined as the situation develops.
No staff have been diagnosed with COVID-19, this is a preventative measure on our part to try and slow down the spread.
In addition to the office, all NBU meetings, events, arbitration hearings and other activities will be postponed or adjourned.
Alternative measures for meetings such as conference calls, video conferencing and telephone town halls are in place so the business of the NBU can continue to be conducted and to maintain our solidarity.
The staff of the NBU are dedicated, experienced and professional. Our staff remain committed to continuing their support of our members and will be available via email and phone. All mailboxes will be monitored regularly. Our objective is to limit all non-essential travel and exposure to reduce the spread of this virus.
This decision was not one the board came to lightly, but we felt it was the right one for the NBU. Everyone has their part to play in limiting the spread of COVID-19. While this decision will inconvenience some of our members, the NBU Board of Directors is unanimous that this is the best course of action at this time.
We encourage everyone to consider the following to help slow down the spread of COVID-19:
• Listen to experts. There’s a lot of rumours and misleading information online. Remember, the best information comes from experts including physicians, Health Canada, World Health Organization and New Brunswick’s Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
• Continue to take all necessary precautions even if you are in a low-risk group. These precautions, which can be found from the sources listed above, are not just to avoid getting infected or spreading COVID-19, but to avoid over-burdening our healthcare system during this situation.
The New Brunswick Union stands behind our members working on the frontlines of healthcare and those who work tirelessly to help the public. We appreciate everything you do to help your fellow New Brunswickers, especially in this time of uncertainty.
The NBU operates both as a trade union to its 9,200 members and as an employer to its 18 staff members. The health and safety of our members and staff remains our paramount concern.
Susie Proulx-Daigle
President of the New Brunswick Union