Note from our President

Good afternoon,

I am reaching out to our members to ask you all to please pay attention to the process that is unfolding with unionized teachers in our province, as they attempt to bargain their next collective agreement with government.

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union has been forced to file a complaint of bad-faith bargaining against the provincial government, after government representatives tabled a new bargaining proposal that Specialists (Speech Language Pathologists, School Psychologists and Social Workers) be removed from the NSTU bargaining unit. They then indicated that they would be unwilling to continue bargaining unless the union agreed to remove those members from their union.

This strong-arm tactic comes on the heels of an independent arbitration ruling that was made in November, which concluded that government breached the NSTU’s professional agreement when it decided to no longer require employed specialists to obtain special teaching certificates, effectively removing these members from the union.

Now, because government’s underhanded attempts to strip union members out of their union have not gone according to plan, we yet again see another blatant attempt at union busting by Premier Stephen McNeil.

Make no mistake, if government is permitted to siphon off members of a bargaining unit at a whim, they won’t stop with the teachers. It will have consequences for all unionized workers in Nova Scotia. How would you like to wake up one day to discover you are no longer covered by the provisions of your collective agreement, simply because the Premier decided you shouldn’t be part of your union anymore?

We saw a similar attack on workers late last year where the Premier walked away from negotiations with Crown Attorneys and legislated away their right to arbitration, taking away a provision the McNeil government had agreed to in 2016. Who can trust anything signed by the McNeil government?

These actions are fundamentally dishonest and undemocratic action on behalf of our government.

While I wish I could say I was shocked by this behaviour, sadly, I am not.

I am calling on all NSGEU members to pay close attention to the current round of collective bargaining for our teachers, the tactics used against them will be tried against us at all of our tables.

Fairly negotiating a collective agreement is a basic human right. We’ve dealt with six years of attacks from this government and if they continue to treat workers with such contempt, we may have no choice but to resort to drastic measures.

United we stand, divided we fall.

In solidarity,

Jason MacLean

President, NSGEU

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