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Students brace for strike at NSCC

Kristina Gullion is hopeful her Nova Scotia Community College classes won’t be cut short by a strike.

Kristina Gullion is hopeful her Nova Scotia Community College classes won’t be cut short by a strike.

But the 22-year-old construction management technology student said she understands why her teachers are considering taking their cause to the picket lines. Of the NSCC workers who cast their ballots Tuesday, 93 per cent of faculty members and 90 per cent of professional support staffers voted in favour of taking job action, a Nova Scotia Teachers Union news release stated.

“Obviously it will affect me — I will be behind in class,” Gullion said yesterday as she left the community college’s Waterfront Campus in Dartmouth.

However, she said most of her classmates who were discussing the potential strike “are kind of understanding the teachers.”

NSTU president Alexis Allen said yesterday union members “have sent a loud and clear message to the government that something should be done.”

She said the union has sent a strike notice to Labour and Workforce Development Minister Marilyn More, who also happens to be education minister. “When we do decide a date, we have to give her 48 hours notice.”

The 900 faculty members and support workers have been without a contact since last Aug. 31. The union said it had to file for conciliation when several issues couldn’t be resolved, including length of contract, salary and insurance benefits.

Premier Darrell Dexter told reporters yesterday the budget to be unveiled today will affect all provincial salaries, but he wouldn’t say whether there’s new money that could impact the community college employees. “The strategy for negotiating those (contracts) is complex.”

During question period, the Tories asked Dexter if he would consider back-to-work legislation, but he brushed off the question, stating he believes in the collective bargaining process.

Allen said the NSTU is waiting to see if “the government can step in,” adding the union will hold “strike school sessions” with community college workers as early as next week.

– With files from Paul Mcleod

 
 
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