MEDIA RELEASE: School Support Workers Reject Contract, Strike Imminent

NSGEU members at the Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education (AVRCE) have voted to reject a last-minute contract offer from their employer, placing them in an imminent strike position.

The union bargaining committee had recommended the deal. However, 68 per cent of the membership voted to reject the offer.

“The bargaining unit has spoken and we have heard them loud and clear,” said NSGEU President Sandra Mullen. “They want to be treated fairly and NSGEU is going to do everything possible to ensure that they are.”

Currently, people who do the same jobs are paid differently depending on which Centre for Education they work for in the province.

Members of Local 73 include Educational Assistants, Early Childhood Educators, Student Support Workers, Outreach workers, Parent Navigators, Library Personnel, Child and Youth Practitioners, Native Student Advisors, Literacy Support Workers and Student Supervisors.

The union served its 48-hour strike notice on October 7th, meaning Local 73 members at the AVRCE are in a legal strike position. The union will now confer with its members in order to make final preparations for a strike. Some advance notice of the strike date will be given so that parents may make alternate arrangements for students who will be directly affected by the job action.

In the meantime, two other locals representing school support workers elsewhere in the province are preparing for a possible strike, as well.

NSGEU Local 70 members in the South Shore Regional Centre for Education (SSRCE) are also nearing a potential strike. On October 11th the SSRCE bargaining unit had voted 94 per cent to reject an offer from their employer. On Friday, October 14th, the SSRCE improved its offer. The Local 70 bargaining committee is now considering whether to recommend that its members accept or reject that latest offer. Local 70 has not yet served its 48-hour strike notice. This local includes Early Childhood Educators, Outreach Workers, Administrative Assistants, Clerks, and IT staff.

Meanwhile, on October 12th, NSGEU Local 74 members at the Tri-County Centre for Education had voted 98 per cent to reject an offer from their employer. That bargaining unit has not been provided with an improved offer. Local 74 has not yet served its 48-hour strike notice, and the union intends to meet with them shortly to determine next steps. This local includes Student Support Workers, Administrative Assistants, IT Student Support Workers, Dispatchers and Central Office Clerks.

Parents of students who rely on the services of school support workers in all three centres for education should begin making preparations for alternate care in the event of a strike.

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