Strike talk spreading stress at St. FX

Dave
Dave Mathieson
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Many of these Cumberland County St. FX students who attended a send off party in Amherst with St. FX alumni could soon be studying on their own if teachers at the university go on strike.

ANTIGONISH - With the possibility of a strike lurking just around the corner at St. Francis Xavier University students there are starting to feel the stress.

"Talk about the strike is pretty huge here on campus. Everybody is stressed out about it," said Amherst's Sam Landry. "All our teachers talk to us about it."

Landry is in her fourth, and final, year of nursing and says teachers are already preparing students in case there is a strike.

"Teachers are pushing things ahead because they're not even allowed to e-mail us if they go on strike," said Landry. "So they're posting assignments on-line now so that if we can't contact them we can still work on our own."

Contract talks broke down on Saturday between university administration and the St. FX Association of University Teachers.

In a press release the university said they offered teachers minimum annual salary increases of 1.5 per cent, 1.5 per cent, 1.75 per cent and 2.0 per cent for a total compounded rate of 6.92 per cent over the life of the four-year agreement.

"They're meeting again next week and if they decide to strike they have to give us a few days (notice), so I think the earliest they can start the strike is Jan. 30," said Landry.

Landry says most students on campus are uncertain as to whether or not there will be a strike.

"I didn't think there was going to be a strike but I kind of do now because more people are saying that they think there will be a strike."

If the teachers do strike she hopes it doesn't last more than one week.

"If it's long enough they could postpone graduation and make us work through Spring Break," she said.

Her father, Greg Landry, is concerned about what would happen if the teachers end up going on strike for a long time. He said it could hurt her employment prospects.

"What bothers me more than anything else is that she's been working hard for almost four years and now her graduation could be pushed back to September," he said. "If that happens she would lose half a year of work in her field.

"She's worked too hard to have the teachers determine she can't graduate because of payroll."

He's also concerned about a planned school trip that's already been paid for, and wonders if they'd be reimbursed.

"That's supposed to happen at the end of the school year, and if they strike she'd have to go to school and miss the school trip to make up for missed time."

Sam said she doesn't want to stress her mom and dad out about a possible strike but her dad says, "It's upsetting."

"We pay a lot of money every year for Sam to go to school and now it all hinges on the teachers deciding if they want to keep working or strike."

Sam says St. FX is a great school, and talk of a strike hasn't changed her opinion, but she thinks the teachers should take the offer.

"I feel like we give them enough money but I guess there's more to it, like they say they're not being treated fairly, but, as far as money goes, I think they make enough," she said.

dmathieson@amherstdaily.com

  

Organizations: St. Francis Xavier University, FX Association of University

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  • mike
    January 18, 2013 - 07:22

    Let's hope that she doesn't have to miss that class trip. that would be devastating !!!!!!! Come on St.FX staff, settle before something llike that has to happen.