The president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees says 2013 has been a rough year for people working in the public sector.
Hundreds of workers were laid off in a round of provincial budget cuts, and Carol Furlong says the idea that the booming economy would get them on their feet was not realistic.
"There's work out there if you want to work for $10 an hour, [but] that doesn't even cover their mortgage bills," she said.
"So there's still people who are suffering the effects of that. We're seeing it, hearing it, every day."
According to Furlong, the union is worried about government's future plans.
"Government did talk about further reviews in health care, College of the North Atlantic, Memorial University, etc., so it's problematic for us and for the people who are affected by it," she said.
While Premier Kathy Dunderdale said she doesn't predict a need for layoffs in the future, the battle for pensions will continue into 2014.
There are still billions of dollars owing, and the province said the current program isn't sustainable — but has ruled out dumping all the risk onto workers.
According to Furlong, negotiation plans are looking promising.
"I think we should be able to hopefully do something with the pension plan that … will settle people's concerns hopefully, and work with the minister and anticipate that we'll be able to resolve that issue," she said.