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Nova Scotia teachers set strike vote

Education system "under attack" from Glaze report, says NSTU president.

Jacob Boon Feb 13, 2018 19:33 PM
THE COAST
Members of the NSTU on strike outside Province House last year.

A year after the first teachers strike in Nova Scotian history, unionized educators are once again at war with the province.

On Tuesday the Nova Scotia Teachers Union announced it would hold a strike vote on February 20 for its 9,3000 members.

The action is a direct response to the recently released Glaze report and its recommendations for sweeping changes to how schools in this province are run.


“Our education system is once again under attack from the McNeil government,” writes NSTU president Liette Doucet in a statement. “Last week we held information sessions around the province to discuss what the Glaze report will mean for our students, our classrooms and our profession. It was clear NSTU members agree the situation is dire and that as teachers and administrators we need to stand up for public education.”

If approved, the strike vote will give the NSTU a mandate to begin a job action. That doesn't necessarily mean there would be a strike, however. Ultimately, the NSTU says that would depend on “if the government is unprepared to back down from implementing the Glaze report.”

The external consultant report by Avis Glaze called for 22 changes to the administration of Nova Scotia’s schools. Education minister Zach Churchill—currently touring the province trying to sell the idea—has promised the Liberal government will act immediately on half of those recommendations, including dissolving all seven English-based school boards, moving principals and vice-principals out of the union and creating a regulatory “college of educators” to license and discipline teachers.

“This is a moment where we need to press forward together with a focus on those who need us most—our students,” Churchill stated last month about the report's findings. “We have great people working in the system who are completely committed and dedicated to our kids. It's our system that's fractured.”

Barely a year ago Nova Scotia’s teachers walked out on strike for the first time in union history. It was a largely symbolic protest in response to the government imposing a new contract on the NSTU through the Teachers’ Professional Agreement Act.

Tuesday’s release, just in time for Valentine’s Day, shows there’s no love lost between the teachers and the Liberal government.

“We cannot sit on our hands and let Stephen McNeil do to our schools, what he did to our hospitals,” states Doucet. “We need to be prepared to fight for what is right and just.”

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