College strike averted – Metro US

College strike averted

Instead of walking the picket lines, 930 Nova Scotia Community College teachers and support staff will walk into class today.

An 11th hour deal between the NSCC and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union pulled the employees back from the brink of a provincewide strike yesterday morning, producing a collective sigh of relief among staff and students at 13 campuses across the province.

“All I can say is thank God,” said a teacher at the NSCC’s Waterfront Campus, who wouldn’t give her name. “I had been feeling so sick all (yesterday) morning … and I was in the middle of a class when my students told me to check my email.”

The strike set to begin today would have affected 25,000 students across the province. Union president Alexis Allen confirmed an agreement was reached late Sunday night after informal discussions over the weekend, but said no details will be revealed until the proposal has been seen by the workers.

“Over the next two days we’ll be letting the members know what’s in it,” she said. “It’s up to them now.”

When asked how she felt about the tentative deal which they’re recommending, Allen said she was “OK with it,” but it’s up to the union membership to accept or reject the province’s offer. No date has been set for the ratification vote.

Allen wouldn’t confirm if the union’s wage demand — a 2.9 per cent increase this year and next — had been met. The NDP had been offering a one per cent raise in the second year, and Premier Darrell Dexter had made it clear the provincial government didn’t intend to offer more cash in the dispute.

At the legislature yesterday, Dexter wasn’t willing to get into details about what if any role the government played in assisting the sides.

“What we did was we made a decision that was based on the best interests of all the parties,” he said. “What I can say is that we are pleased with where the file sits now.”

Without contract
• Nova Scotia Community College teachers and support staff have been without a contract for 16 months.