A biting wind didn't prevent a group of unionized workers and supporters from protesting outside Health and Community Minister Susan Sullivan's office in Grand Falls-Windsor on Thursday.

The workers, with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE), demonstrated against the privatization of three group homes for youth on the island. 

The provincial government recently announced a new framework for staffed residential care. Part of the process includes the awarding of a contract to a private company. 

Affected are T.J. MacDonald Achievement Home in Marystown, Pine Heights Group Home in Grand Falls-Windsor, and the Bay St. George Youth Assessment Centre in Stephenville.

45 public sector workers will lose their jobs.  

NAPE President Carol Furlong said the move sets a dangerous precedent. 

"We don't want to see something like that happen, because the extension of that of course, is that many other group homes may be privatized," said Furlong.

NAPE President Carol Furlong addresses demonstrators

NAPE President Carol Furlong has condemned the provincial government’s decision to privatize the service provided by publicly-operated group homes in Marystown, Stephenville and Grand Falls-Windsor. (David Newell/CBC)

"Many other public services could be privatized. We don't really want to go down that road, where privatization [will] take over our public services. That is a very scary ordeal for the people of this province." 

Both Sullivan and Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Paul Davis came out to address the crowd.

Sullivan said she will encourage Blue Sky, the company contracted to take over the three group homes, to discuss the future of the jobs with NAPE. 

Union representatives have a meeting scheduled for next week with Premier Tom Marshall to discuss the closures.