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NBFL Celebrates Adoption of First Contract Arbitration

Dec 21, 2017

NBFL Celebrates Adoption of First Contract Arbitration

The New Brunswick Federation of Labour (NBFL) celebrates the adoption of Bill 4, An Act to Amend the Industrial Relations Act. Passing first contract arbitration into law aligns New Brunswick’s legislation with other Canadian jurisdictions, making it easier for workers to access unionization and the protections that unionization provides to workers.

“This is a great victory for the labour movement. The adoption of first contract arbitration is the culmination of decades of advocacy work of the NBFL and its affiliates,” says Patrick Colford, President of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour. “Employers will no longer be able to refuse to recognize a certified union’s authority to negotiate a first collective agreement.”

New Brunswick has seen sometimes lengthy and always divisive work stoppages when employers fail to recognize the right of employees to join a union and the authority of the union as their bargaining agent. The most recent of these disputes was the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) local 1288P members 5-month strike. The employer, Covered Bridge Potato Chips, refused to recognize the union’s authority to negotiate a first contract. It is noteworthy that workers had voted to join the UFCW local 1288P over two years prior to that, the union receiving certification in December 2013.

“I am disappointed that this bill did not receive unanimous support in the Legislative Assembly,” concludes Colford. “All political parties should be standing up for workers in this provice. It is disheartening that the Progressive Conservative Party chose not to support this bill and to not support the workers who are in need of such legislation. ”

The New Brunswick Federation of Labour will continue its work with government to adopt progressive legislation and policies to better protect New Brunswick workers.


The NBFL is the central voice of organized labour in the province. We represent over 40,000 workers from every sector of the economy and from every community in the province.

For additional information, please contact:

Patrick Colford

President, NBFL
(506) 857-2125 / (506) 381-8969 (cell)