Community College strike vote called

    HALIFAX, Sept. 8 /CNW/ - Community College faculty and professional
support staff will take a strike vote on September 22. A conciliation report
was filed on June 23 advising the Minister of Labour that the Nova Scotia
Teachers Union and the College had been unable to reach a tentative agreement.
Discussions over the summer have also failed to result in an agreement.
    "Unfortunately, the College still has not received a financial commitment
from the Department of Education for a 2009 salary increase and improvements
to the medical plan," says NSTU president Alexis Allen. "Without the necessary
funding from the province we have been unable to resolve the outstanding
issues of salary and benefits."
    Negotiations opened June 5, 2008. In April, after 10 months of
negotiations, the NSTU filed for conciliation. Despite efforts by the Union
and the College to resolve important issues of equity there has been no
appropriate response from the Department of Education says Allen.
    "At heart, the over-riding issue is one of fairness," she continues.
"Teachers are fully prepared to support their colleagues in the community
college system."
    Allen notes that the Department of Education is unwilling to provide the
same salary increases and improvements to medical benefits that it agreed to
provide to public school teachers.
    "We find it beyond comprehension that any government would choose to
single out one group of employees after reaching agreements with virtually
every other bargaining unit in the public service, including other community
college employees," says Allen. "These professional educators, many of whom
have brought extensive qualifications and industry experience to the College,
deserve to be treated fairly and be awarded comparable wage increases."
    On Friday, September 4, the NSTU provincial executive voted unanimously
to conduct an electronic province-wide vote in favour of strike action.
    On Saturday, September 12 representatives from campuses across the
province will meet to be briefed on the failed contract negotiations.
    The Community College employees have been without a contract since August
31, 2008.

    The Nova Scotia Teachers Union represents 10,900 public school teachers
and two bargaining units in the Community College system, faculty and
professional support staff. Organized in 1895, its programs are directed
towards improving the quality of public education in Nova Scotia.

For further information:

For further information: Angela Murray, NSTU PR Coordinator, Cell: (902)

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Nova Scotia Teachers Union

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