Collective Bargaining Rights in Nova Scotia: A Game of Tug of War


The Nova Scotia Teachers Union and their 9,300 members want to have a say on a resolution the legislature plans to push through in response to an ongoing contract dispute. Negotiations have been dragging on for more than a year. After 3 failed tentative agreements, it is becoming clear that negotiations between the parties is not going anywhere. Since December 2016, teachers have been in a legal strike position after 96% voted in favour of strike action.

Nova Scotia’s Premier Stephen McNeil said that he is trying to “bring an end” to the prolonged dispute. He has called the legislature in for an emergency session on Monday February 13th after 78.5% of teachers rejected another contract offer on Thursday February 9th. Turnout to the vote was 106%, due to substitute teachers working on Thursday being allowed to vote.

Union president, Liette Doucet, has been quoted saying:

“It’s clear that Premier McNeil knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing…A legislated contract will do nothing to improve the state of our schools and will only further erode the trust between teachers and this government.”

All sides argue they are fighting for the best interests of students. It is unfortunate that during these negotiations, students have missed out on cancelled field trips, Christmas concerts and sports events.

It is hard to say whether the teachers will prefer a legislated contract over a deal they do not like. We will have to wait and see what the provincial legislature does tomorrow after their meeting.

This blog post was written by a CCLA-PBSC RightsWatch student. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the view of the CCLA or PBSC. 

1 Comment on "Collective Bargaining Rights in Nova Scotia: A Game of Tug of War"

  1. Vanessa Kinnear | 25/02/2017 at 10:13 pm |

    Update: Bill 75 has been passed into law. The new contract imposes a three per cent wage increase over four years and freezes the long-service award for teachers as of July 2015. Anyone hired since that date is not eligible for the payout upon retirement. It also creates a committee to review inclusive education and a committee, which includes nine teachers appointed by superintendents, to review classroom conditions and workplace concerns. It follows the rejection by teachers of three tentative agreements between the union and government.

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