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Teachers rally in Digby - strike deadline looming


DIGBY, N.S. – Teachers in Digby want the provincial government to know they are serious.

About 50 members of the Digby local of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union marched from Digby Elementary School to the office of the MLA for Clare Digby, Gordon Wilson on Nov. 24.

“We want the government to know we are counting on a fair and open bargaining process and we want them to know we are serious about improving education for everyone in Nova Scotia,” said Josée Desjardins, president of the Digby local.

The NSTU held a vote Oct. 25 and 96 per cent of the union members voted in favour of job action – that could be work-to-rule, rotating strikes or a general strike.

The teachers union is in a legal strike position on Dec. 3 but have to give 48 hours notice of any intent to go off the job.

Desjardins said the province hasn’t respected the teachers union throughout the negotiation process.

“All we want is open and fair negotiations but they have Bill 148 hanging over heads, they didn’t want arbitration and then they wanted pre-conditions for arbitration,” said Desjardins.

Desjardins was happy with the turnout at the Digby rally. The union local has 116 members from Digby to Weymouth.

“This is about half and when you consider our teachers have so many other commitments, to see this many make it here today, that shows how united we are,” she said.

Lori MacKinnon, a member of the NSTU’s provincial executive, agrees the teachers are engaged and united.

“No teacher wants to go on strike and we are hopeful we can reach a collective agreement and get back to the classroom but the members are very engaged and very united,” she said.

Wilson met the teachers outside his office in Conway and offered an open invitation to any of them who wanted to come in and talk anytime.

“We do want to fix the problem, sincerely,” said Wilson. “You’re all welcome to come in. I don’t have room for all of you but I don’t mind trying.

“Hopefully next week proves to be a more productive week for all of us. We don’t want a strike anymore than anyone and hopefully our union, and I mean that collectively, hopefully our union is listening to all the problems and negotiating on your behalf.”

After of teachers left, Wilson talked with a smaller group of teachers outside the office.

jriley@digbycourier.ca

About 50 members of the Digby local of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union marched from Digby Elementary School to the office of the MLA for Clare Digby, Gordon Wilson on Nov. 24.

“We want the government to know we are counting on a fair and open bargaining process and we want them to know we are serious about improving education for everyone in Nova Scotia,” said Josée Desjardins, president of the Digby local.

The NSTU held a vote Oct. 25 and 96 per cent of the union members voted in favour of job action – that could be work-to-rule, rotating strikes or a general strike.

The teachers union is in a legal strike position on Dec. 3 but have to give 48 hours notice of any intent to go off the job.

Desjardins said the province hasn’t respected the teachers union throughout the negotiation process.

“All we want is open and fair negotiations but they have Bill 148 hanging over heads, they didn’t want arbitration and then they wanted pre-conditions for arbitration,” said Desjardins.

Desjardins was happy with the turnout at the Digby rally. The union local has 116 members from Digby to Weymouth.

“This is about half and when you consider our teachers have so many other commitments, to see this many make it here today, that shows how united we are,” she said.

Lori MacKinnon, a member of the NSTU’s provincial executive, agrees the teachers are engaged and united.

“No teacher wants to go on strike and we are hopeful we can reach a collective agreement and get back to the classroom but the members are very engaged and very united,” she said.

Wilson met the teachers outside his office in Conway and offered an open invitation to any of them who wanted to come in and talk anytime.

“We do want to fix the problem, sincerely,” said Wilson. “You’re all welcome to come in. I don’t have room for all of you but I don’t mind trying.

“Hopefully next week proves to be a more productive week for all of us. We don’t want a strike anymore than anyone and hopefully our union, and I mean that collectively, hopefully our union is listening to all the problems and negotiating on your behalf.”

After of teachers left, Wilson talked with a smaller group of teachers outside the office.

jriley@digbycourier.ca

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