02/20/2013 05:56 EST | Updated 04/22/2013 05:12 EDT

Newfoundland and Labrador public sector union has $17.4 million strike fund

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The largest public sector union in Newfoundland and Labrador says its financially well prepared to go on strike.

Documents mailed to union members recently say that negotiators with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees intend to achieve a deal at the bargaining table.

However, the union says that if talks break down it has a defence fund of $17.4 million as of Dec. 31 — the largest in the union's history.

In a membership update, President Carol Furlong describes collective bargaining as painstakingly slow, saying there has been no discussion of wages.

The union says that it intends to negotiate for a wage increase.

The province's finance minister has been touring the province seeking ways to reduce a deficit he has estimated at $1.6 billion.