NSCC students caught in contract dispute

Christopher Gooding
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SPRINGHILL - Students at Nova Scotia Community Colleges are waiting to see if their post-secondary studies are to come to an abrupt halt.
The Nova Scotia Teachers Union filed notice with the province's Minister of Labour on Wednesday, after talks between the college and the province failed to resolve salary increases for more than 900 college employees.
Those employees could be on the picket line as early as today, leaving students wondering what the future holds.
"We get e-mails about it and they keep us updated but I'm not informed enough how it would affect classes," Cumberland campus student Marcus Bellfontaine said Thursday.
Another student, asking her name not be published, said there's a general sense of worry in the hallways as the days become increasingly uncertain.
"They told us not to worry but it's a wait-and-see thing," she said, "I'm worried because I just don't know."
Other students, however, are more direct about their concerns.
"It kind of sucks because we paid thousands to be here," Corey O'Brien said.
"I'm worried how it's going to affect classes."
Like Bellfontaine, O'Brien said he's not as informed as he would like to be.
Young adults and mature students are not the only ones who could be impacted by a strike action.
Lisa Morris, a student in Cumberland campus' nurse practitioner course, raised concerns for toddlers in the campus day care, saying the children are just getting into their routines.
Ninety-one per cent of faculty members voted 93 per cent in favour of the walkout, and 96 per cent of professional support employees voted 90 per cent in favour of joining the job action this week, before filing notice to the Minister of Labour, as required by the Trade Union Act.
Negotiations opened June of last year and in April, after 10 months of negotiations, the NSTU filed for conciliation after neither side could resolve on salary, length of contract and insurance benefits.

cgooding@springhillrecord.com

Organizations: Nova Scotia Community Colleges, Nova Scotia Teachers Union, Trade Union

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  • Scott
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    I can relate to those students about being worried. I am also a student(mature) at the Burridge campus. I also have those fears because at my age I can't afford to lose any time due to a labor strike/lockout. Being mature my learning ability seems to be a slower pace than those who are freshly out of secondary school. That being said though I do have extensive employment experience and feel that the arguement for equal pay for equal work is justified. These negotiations should have been taken care of before or shortly after the last contract expired but like most employers, they seem to like pushing everything tothe brink. Support the teachers, they deserve the raise.