The largest public-sector union in the province is gathering, in person, for its first full-fledged convention since the pandemic.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employee kicked off its 25th Biennial Convention at the Delta Hotel in St. John’s this morning.

It began with an address from its president, Jerry Earle, who heralded a plethora of accomplishments, not the least of which is the signing of 60 contracts over the past two years alone.

Earle chalked it up to the current relationship with government.

“We have a decent relationship, I have to say, but they also know that when it comes to our members, we’re not going to back down, and if we have to move toward conciliation or toward strike, that’s where we’re going,” he said.

Meanwhile, Earle said he supports CUPE’s opposition to contracting out work on Housing units, instead of government hiring back its own employees on overtime.

“Absolutely, we would support a sister union, we’d certainly support those front-line workers. We’ve faced similar things. We’re seeing it now that public-sector employees, whether they’re in health care or other areas, can do that work, demonstrated during the pandemic, that’s who kept things going, front-line workers, and we believe that’s who can keep this province in a better position going forward.”

The NAPE convention continues today and into the weekend.

The union represents nearly 30,000 public and private sector workers across the province.

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