Dear brother / sister,

As you are no doubt aware, the St. John’s Board of Trade has come out publicly against our tentative agreement – while our members were voting on it. The NL Employer’s Council has joined them.

I have been inundated with messages from our members asking, and in many cases, demanding a proportional response. You felt attacked. You were attacked.

This is not something that has just happened overnight, for years these employer groups have been on the offensive. It has recently come to a head.

I have also heard from many businesses who do not support the approach taken by spokespersons of these organizations in the past few weeks. Many of these businesses rely on public sector workers to make their businesses succeed.

On Sunday past, I posted on my personal page saying that I personally (and as a family) would not support a business that does not support public sector workers. I asked members to share their opinions on the matter. I also said that it stands to reasons that we would be looking at who NAPE, as an organization, does business with going forward.

Our goal in this was to put pressure on the leadership of the Board of Trade to change their course of action. They have to know that there are consequences for actions and that our union will always stand up for its members and the vital services they provide.

Our goal was never to cause undue harm on those who are members of the Board of Trade who support NAPE members and what we are trying to achieve. Again, we know there are many in that camp.

NAPE has recently run a province-wide campaign advocating for and supporting local business – the Be Proud. Buy Local campaign was very warmly received. We did this campaign to help support the local economy and those workers who work every day to create world-class goods and services across our province.

This is about the leadership of those employers groups and how they are using their positions to undermine our union, the workers we represent, and the services you deliver.

This is NOT to let them off the hook – we will continue to stand for and defend our members. We always will.

However, as was the case with bargaining, we decided that a balance needed to be struck for the overall good.

We need to send a clear message to these employer’s groups without negatively affecting the economy or those that actively support us.

Our Board of Directors met last night to discuss this entire issue. It was decided that we would employ a two-pronged approach:

  1. NAPE, as an organization, will be contacting businesses that we do direct and significant business with to see where they stand on the issues. If they don’t support our workers, than it is reasonable to assume that we won’t support their business.

We will then decide whether or not to move our business elsewhere.

  1. We are currently working to develop a province-wide, positive campaign that will allow businesses who support NAPE workers to show their support to our members and the general public. We also hope that this will be a boost to the local economy. We expect to launch this campaign in the coming days. So stay tuned.

I also want to thank you for the outpouring of support, feedback, and solidarity over the past few weeks.

It means more to myself, Bert Blundon, the staff, and our Board than you could possibly know.

There is strength in our union.

In solidarity,